Mini Monets and Mommies: Creativity and Your Child: 7 Ways to Amp Up Imagination

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Creativity and Your Child: 7 Ways to Amp Up Imagination

Creativity. It’s a trait that we, as adults, think of as being the stuff that children are made of. With a seemingly boundless ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, our children often embody imagination. I remember being 4- or 5-years-old and desperately wanting to keep a refrigerator box. It was sitting in the middle of the living room and my mother was getting ready to drag it to the curb. I begged and pleaded to keep it. She caved, only under the condition that I provide her with 20 different ways to use the box.
Children's art


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With the creativity that only a child seems to have, I turned that box into 20 different rocket ships, cars, trains, boats and other items that I’ve long forgotten. So, if you’re remembering your own childhood creativity, but thinking, “Hmm, why don’t my kids have that same spark?” you aren’t alone. I’m not saying that your child isn’t creative. I’m saying that she may not show it off. Even though children may seem more imaginative than adults, some of them need help drawing it out.

It’s in there. All the creativity of childhood is in your kiddo. While she might not put it on display, have public conversations with her imaginary princess friend, paint like a pint-sized Picasso or whirl around the living room dancing to the beat of the music that she’s creating with her hand-made instruments, you can help her to let loose and set her creative-self free!

1.     Set up an art buffet.  When my son was two I went back to work, teaching kids at an art museum. One of my favorite activities to do with them was to set up an “art buffet” in our studio. I lined the table with everything from oil pastels to glitter and glue. Being able to pick and choose from an array of artsy items always seemed to do something to ignite the kids’ creativity. Give your child a piece of cardboard and let her layer on the different materials, trying a variety of processes and creating a mixed-media artwork that is entirely unique.
Process activity

2.     Use a worksheet. What??? A worksheet? If you’re about to ask why I would suggest this when worksheets seem to be the opposite of creativity, start thinking out of the box. No one ever said that it’s mandatory for your child to color in the lines – or, for that matter, color at all. Switch things up and get her to think about how she can create on her coloring sheet without simply coloring. For example, instead of coloring in a picture of an apple, she can piece together a patchwork collage of tissue paper and fabric on it.

3.     Play music. And not just when you think she should sing or dance. Play a tune when she paints, draws or plays in her pretend kitchen. Don’t just stick to the same old songs. Pick different types of music from around the world or songs that elicit different emotions.

4.     Use a box. Hey, it worked for me. Give your child a box, and that’s it. You’ve already brought out the mega materials during the art buffet. Put the sequins, paints, colorful duct tape and animal print paper away. Give her a box and ask her what she can make it into. She doesn’t have to physically make the box into anything that remotely resembles a real object. Let her use her imagination to “see” it as something else.

5.     Combine activities. Art doesn’t stop at a crayon and a piece of paper. It extends into science, literacy and all kinds of other subject matter. Paint with soap that you’ve heated as part of a science experiment or have her create her own book instead of always reading the same ones to her.
Creative explore

6.     Get silly. Some children feel shy or uncomfortable about expressing creativity. If your child is rather reserved, help her to break out of her shell by getting silly in an imaginative way. Dress up in costumes together, dance like you’re walking through mud or create your own family giggle opera.

7.     Explore creativity together. Did you notice that number six included ideas to try with your child? Free yourself, and get creative together. Not only will this up the comfort level for your child, but it can help you to relax, de-stress get nostalgic as you feel what it’s like to be a child all over again!

Are you looking for a few process-based art options to try out with your creative kid? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Process Art for Kids on Pinterest.


  1. Some fab ideas here! I think I need to do some creative things like this with Cameron! Thank you for linking up with the #WeekendBlogHop

    Laura x x x

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I've done this so many times, and finally one day I looked at the table and realized it was like a "buffet"!

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