The importance of creative play
Kids naturally love creative play. They love painting, playing with play dough, dressing-up and making things. Not only is this type of play necessary for a child’s well-being, but it can also assist children by:
- Providing a safe, non-direct way for children to talk about their worries
- Strengthening the relationship between parent and child
- Helping children to think for themselves and to solve problems
- Teaching children coping skills to deal with challenges and difficult emotions such as loss, fear, sadness or anger
Children need opportunities to be creative. Structured play, although also beneficial, doesn’t allow children the opportunities they need to express themselves freely. Below are ways to encourage more creative play:
- Let children play outside more. Let them play in the sand, in the mud or jump in the puddles.
- Make an art corner for your child. Supply crayons, paint, googly eyes, glitter, play dough or anything to make art activities fun.
- Old clothing and some costume jewellery encourages children to dress-up and explore different roles.
- Musical instruments will encourage children to express themselves through music.
- A CD player with music can encourage children to sing and dance.
- Let your children take some old blankets or boxes and make “houses”, “forts” or whatever they want to make.
The possibilities are endless!
Once children feel safe to play and express themselves through their play, it is important that adults don’t judge them or try to correct them. Instead of saying, “That looks good!” rather say, “I can see you’re very busy. I wonder what you’re thinking while you do that?” That way, you can encourage your child to open up in a non-directive way and by not feeling judged, your child’s self-esteem will also be developed.