Parents have the toughest job in the world. Knowing how to provide the best platform for your child can be a never-ending task, with various research papers promoting certain tips and activities on a rotating basis.
One thing that has been proven time and time again is the importance of creative play in the development of young children. Different creative activities can help in so many ways, improving a child’s physical, mental and emotional capacities.
Supporting children’s creativity
Supporting a child’s creativity can be quite simple because there are so many options. While there are definitely classes in music and other creative pursuits, you can do a lot at home — often without any new equipment.
Creativity comes in many forms and, thankfully, for most children they’re a lot of fun. Music, art, drama and simple playing can all work towards the same goals.
There are times when it’s up to the parent to set up and lead activities but sometimes a child’s imagination can take over and lead the path to a creative life.
Stages of Creative Development
Although everyone learns skills at different paces, there are four key stages of creative development for children. These are preparation, incubation, illumination and verification.
Preparation is simple. It’s how the child gets ready for an activity — it involves planning, gathering supplies and working out what they want to achieve. During the incubation stage, things may change. It’s where an idea sits, and may grow arms and legs or go in a completely different direction.
Illumination is the moment when everything kicks into place. They’ll realise what was missing from their initial planning, and they’ll be able to pivot. Verification comes when they see the result of their efforts.
Materials for Early Childhood Creative Play
The beauty of creative play is that it can come in so many forms. From art and craft to creative activities like drama (make-believe), music and dance. You can also be creative in the bath, at the beach or wherever you play.
Some of the materials can be obvious — pens and paper are good for drawing, a xylophone is good for making music. But you can also be creative with your recyclables, whether that’s for arts and craft or making your own instruments.
Wherever you look, you’ll find something you can use creatively. Often asking your kid to take the lead will mean you get new ideas and ones that they love.
Facilitating Creative Development
There are lots of ways to facilitate creative play and development with your child. Some in organised and structured ways, others in off-the-cuff activities.
As an adult, you can take the lead and prepare activities. There are tried and tested opportunities like painting and block building that you can set up simply to more freestyle options like dancing and puppet stories.
Of course, the best-laid plans don’t always work out. Sometimes giving up control to your child can give better results, even if they do want to explore the world through the eyes of Elsa or Spider-man yet again.
Benefits of Creative Development
Creative play has proven physical and mental development for children.
Whatever activity they’re taking part in, they’ll learn new skills and words. From musical terms and names of colours to conversations between two toys, children get to build and practise vocabulary.
They’ll also improve their gross and, particularly, their fine motor skills as they play.
As children interact with new creative activities, it will help them learn to think and approach new tasks. As their mental facilities grow, you’ll see them transfer these skills to other activities and their development will kick on in all areas.
Creative play: why it’s important in early childhood
Creative play is a vital aspect of childhood development because of all the different areas of growth.
With regular and varied creative tasks in their life, your child will grow in a variety of manners. Their gross motor skills will improve through dance and drama, their fine motor skills through colouring in and sewing, their emotional development through stories and acting, and their social development as they take on these tasks with peers.
The more creative play a child gets early in life, the better they’ll be able to acclimatise to new tasks and challenges as they grow.
Learning and development through drama
Drama, acting and make-believe are all fun ways for your child to learn important skills. It’s a great way for you to have a structured activity that also gives your child an element of control.
Drama at home can be a great way to develop confidence in movement, listening skills and communication skills (both verbal and non-verbal). It’s also a great way to develop emotions and play through soft skills like sharing and kindness.
At school or in classes, it’s a great way to socialise and have fun with peers and develop teamwork skills without any social anxiety.
Learning and development through arts and crafts
Perhaps the biggest development aid you’ll see through arts and crafts is an improvement in fine motor skills. Drawing, beading, cutting and gluing all help fine-tune the small hand muscles.
On top of that, children get a sense of achievement and improved self-esteem, they begin to learn about colours and shapes, and art builds a child’s imagination and thinking skills.
And, of course, spending time doing arts and craft with your child helps strengthen your bond. Quality time spent together is always important, and talking about plans, creative choices and finished projects helps build communication skills.
Learning and development through music
There have been countless studies that have shown that music, particularly classical music, has a positive impact on the development of young children.
An early introduction to music — both listening and playing — has benefits on a child’s brain development. It’s been shown to help language skills develop more quickly, build memory skills and help make the connections that allow brain and body to work together well.
Your child can also improve their fine and gross motor skills by playing instruments and dancing along to music.
On top of all of that, music brings joy to our lives, and a happy child is the main goal for many parents.
Creative development in early childhood key aspect of their upbringing, both for the immediate rewards and also for the long-term development benefits.
By helping your child to explore as many different ways to play creativity as you can, you’ll find a lot of fun ways to help your child learn and improve. From fine and gross motor skills to emotional, communication and mental capacities, creative development is something every parent should look to incorporate.