Creative Play Spaces

Designing an environment that helps children to reach their creative potential.

What does it mean to maximize the creative sensitivity of a child?

Happy kid playing with toy airplane
Does your child have time, space and opportunity for creative play?
  • risk-taker (especially in the arts)
  • problem-solver
  • innovator
  • appreciator

Children’s creative potential is a reflection of how “fearfully and wonderfully” they were made.  We are made in the image of God, therefore we each have the ability to create, but that potential must be encouraged and nurtured.

Parents who desire creative risk-taking in their homes should be intentional about providing time, space, and opportunity.   Initiate moments for children to make choices and participate in creative opportunities including the following:

To play

Make time in the day for self-directed play.   Send your children to a play space for a limited amount of time depending on their age.   Encourage children to play by themselves with “non-toys” such as :

  • Pieces of fabric (I love play silks.)
  • Jar of assorted buttons & string and/or nuts & bolts.
    To begin with, these items are great eye/hand and fine motor activities. Later they become small props in creative play.
  • Old keys! Every playroom should have a few “mystery” keys!
  • Images of people, vehicles, houses, and miscellaneous objects that have been cut out of magazine and collected in a “treasure box”.
  • An old suitcase
  • Dress-up clothes (Don’t just buy the Melissa & Doug brand, but provide real clothes to be used for pretend play.)
  • Boxes of various shapes and sizes along with a box of water based markers.
  • I just added an old rotary phone to the play space in our home.  I love listening in on the conversations that old black phone inspires.
  • Look for the sense of wonder in everyday items.  When visiting an antique store keep your eyes open for items that will create play-magic in the hands of a child, like perhaps an old cash register.

Look around your child’s play area and make sure there are items that are begging to be a part of imaginative play.   I place a higher play-value on a big empty box and some paint over anything with “Little Tyke” stamped on it.

To speak & perform

If you follow Fireflies Blog, you know we love puppet theaters.   Every home should have supplies for children to create their own scripts & puppets as well as a simple puppet theater from which to premier their big Oscar-winning show.  Make sure children have time, space, and opportunity to create a performance experience for the family.  Be sure to follow Jocelyn’s posts [O is for Ocean] for encourage and support

To create

Encourage your child to create by placing organized art materials within their reach.   I know, I know – that sounds rather foolish, but if you really want to encourage creativity in your home then by all means, place some white plain paper along with crayons within reach of your young artists. The idea is for art supplies to become integrated into creative play. If your child needs a stop sign for their car-play, make sure they have supplies nearby to create one! Finally – provide crayons and pencils that can be used to blend colors. Give your child opportunities to create their own green, purple, and orange.

To problem-solve

Children should have the opportunity to make decisions…creative decisions. Allow them to rearrange their room or create the menu for dinner. Perhaps they would enjoy the challenge of modifying a simple family recipe – or better yet, let them originate a unique family recipe. Provide simple problems and let children help find a solution.

To appreciate

Visit museums and attend concerts. Through participating in music, art, and dramatic performance experiences, students become attuned to excellence in the arts. In the same way that reading the classics aloud to your child models well constructed language patterns and vocabulary, exposing children to the best in drama, music, and art masterpieces will lay a foundation of excellence for future original inspirations.

Each child is full of untold possibilities. Commit to provide a home in which their creative potential is maximized.

Deni Corbett

Deni Corbett

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