8 Easy Ways to Encourage Toddler Creativity

8 Easy Ways to Encourage Toddler Creativity - How to raise creative children. - www.yeswemadethis.com

I always imagined I would be a crafty mom. You know, fingerpainting with the kids, playing with playdoh, making holiday decoration, stuff like that. I never thought much of it. I guess it is what I loved doing when I was I child, so passing that on to my own children made sense to me.

Now that I actually am a mom, I have started seeing it from a different perspective. Sure, doing crafts is fun. But it is so much more than that. It invites children into a whole different world. A world, where (if you let them) they can make anything they like. Where they explore and learn.

It is a beautiful thing, watching your young child be creative. Not just doing crafts, but also playing outside, building with Legos. Seeing how natural it comes to them. They are so uninhibited, open to every possible idea.


So what I’ve learned is that my mission as a parent is not to teach my kids to be creative. It is just to enable them to nurture it, so they can become creative independent individuals. And like with most things, we set the stage for this early on in life.

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In today’s post, I want to share some of the ways I use to encourage toddler creativity. With my oldest just coming out of her toddler years I feel I’ve come to some ground rules that seem to work (so far at least).


I am by no means a parenting expert. These ideas are just what I have observed works well with my daughter and tricks that I use to encourage toddler creativity. Here they are.

8 Easy Ways to Encourage Toddler Creativity


Let them play.

This is rule number one. Just let kids be kids. No need to plan every second of the day, no need for fancy (and expensive) activities. When you allow your kids to have unstructured playtime they will do what they do best. Create, pretend, invent, discover.

I am not saying all structured classes are bad, but I do believe you also have to give your child some space. Probably the best (and simplest) way to encourage toddler creativity.


Opt for simple toys, that require imagination.

I’ve never liked those plastic toys that do just one single thing. Things like, I don’t know, a plastic hairdryer or a lightsaber (is that a thing? I don’t know my boys’ toys yet…).

Those toys have everything figured out already, so nothing is left to the child’s imagination.

When you get them simpler, open-ended toys, like toy animals, playdoh, or even just a few pieces of scrap wood, it is up to the child to come up with ideas on how to use it. When you let a child explore these simpler things, a bathrobe belt becomes a puppy on a leash and a coffee table becomes an oven for those playdoh cupcakes (both true stories). How cool is that?


Let them make a mess.

Let your kids create without worrying about the cleanup. Sure, that’s important too and cleanup is a lesson in itself. But if you keep worrying about the mess your kids will make by doing craft projects or whatever, they will eventually stop doing ‘messy’ activities altogether.

So stop worrying about keeping every inch of the house clean. Instead, encourage your kids to create, cut, glue, paint, whatever. Despite the mess they will – inevitably – make.

A good way to do this is to keep a designated craft space in your house. Somewhere your kids can go crazy without worrying about every little droplet of paint.

And as for the mess goes, try not to worry too much about out. The kids will grow up and I bet we will all be missing the days when our kids were creating and playing and making a mess.


Praise them for their efforts.

We all like to see our work is acknowledged. And so do our kids. When your kid draws a pretty drawing or makes a super cool cardboard house, praise them for it. It will give them encouragement and motivation to continue exploring and creating in the future.

Display their artwork on the fridge and tell daddy about the awesome lego castle they built when he gets home. Kids love it when their creativity is acknowledged.


Limit TV time.

I confess. I am totally guilty of sometimes putting my daughter in front of the TV to get something done.

In our house, a little bit of TV time is OK, but we try to put a limit on it. I really don’t think watching Dora the Explorer is doing my daughter any harm. But there is no arguing that this time could be better spent.

So what we do is allow watching TV, but we always put a limit on it. A limit she understands. Like you can only watch this one cartoon or cartoons until the long hand on the clock comes to 3.

This way she gets some her beloved cartoon time (and meanwhile we get something done). But after the TV time is over we make sure we engage her in other, more meaningful activities.


Show them an appreciation of different types of creativity.

Creativity is so many different things and I think exposing my daughter to a variety of creative endeavors can only do her good.

Many of us think, since our kids are so young, they won’t get much from staring at paintings in a museum. But I still think taking my daughter to an art exhibit is time well spent. This way she gets the message that we appreciate art, creativity, and the work that the artist put into it.

I don’t expect her to understand the hidden message behind the art, but it is the whole process of going to the museum, buying tickets, seeing the show, that I think matters.


Encourage curiosity.

Very often being creative comes from curiosity. So we try to encourage our daughter to be curious, to ask questions and imagine what the answers might be.

A good place to start is by trying to find answers to their silly cute questions together.

For example, when your toddler asks you Why is the sky blue? don’t just dismiss them. Instead, praise them for thinking of such a great question. And then try to find the answer together. Is it because it reflects the ocean? Is it because blue is mommy’s favorite color? It doesn’t have to be right, it’s the process of thinking up scenarios and possibilities that matters.


Set the example by being creative yourself.

The best way to teach kids anything probably is by leading by example. An awesome way to encourage toddler creativity is to show your kid you are creative yourself.

Take time for a creative hobby, do crafts or learn a new creative skill.

When your toddlers play with legos, join them and build something yourself. When they paint, take a piece of paper and paint something yourself.

Trust me. When your toddler sees you being creative, they are going to want to be, as well.

As I ‘ve said earlier, our kids are born creative. But it is our job to make the choices that enable them to explore, imagine and create.


I think it’s important to start early. That’s why I find it so important to encourage toddler creativity and naturally nurture it beyond the toddler years.


What do you think? Do you think it’s important to foster a creative environment for our kids? Do you have your tricks to encourage toddler creativity? Or is it something that comes naturally to you and you don’t even think much about? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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