Creative Child

Parenting: Old-fashioned Ways to Raise Creative Children

by Nicole Dean


Make Your Own: To make your own board you'll need a large sheet of felt attached to a sturdy surface, like a painter's easel or even a wall. 


  • Buy a nice supply of colorful felt to be cut up into basic shapes for the younger child and more sophisticated props for the older child.
  • A very young child will amaze you with their ability to create objects with just a few basic shapes. Have them tell you a story about each creation, as you may not realize what it is until they tell you! 
  • Your older child can research characters and props by looking through books and magazines.
  • Encourage your child to not only design the characters and the settings, but to tell you the story, act by act. 

Musical Instruments - Whether your musical instruments are home-made with a comb and wax paper or store bought, making music is a wonderful way to spend the day together. Teach your child that music can be made from anything, from an old oatmeal container, to scratching two pieces of sandpaper together. You may want to listen to music together and try to pick out the instruments that are making the sounds. Get some sheet music or song books and teach your child about what the notes represent, and if you don't know, learn together. Simple bells can be strung together to create a one-of-a-kind instrument. There's even music in nature. Go on a walk and just listen to the sounds of the world -- music is everywhere in our lives.

Your young musicians won't be able to resist these...

Pretend Dress-Up - Pull out a big box of dress-up clothes and your child's imagination will kick into full swing. Fill that box with discarded frilly dresses, fancy shoes, goofy blazers, silly ties and let the fun begin. If your closets are not full of this stuff, you may want to give the second-hand stores a look. I've found the more garish the clothes, the cheaper they get. And the gaudier they are for the kids, the better they like them. Watch after Halloween for the lowest prices and purchase a few costumes for your dress-up bin. When your children start throwing themselves into dressing-up, the stories of who they are and what they're doing start to develop, usually turning into a production of sorts in which you, the audience, is now invited to attend. Enjoy the show! 

Art Supplies - Bring out some crayons, paint, kid-safe scissors, paper, glue, and even junk mail, and go to town! Even sidewalk chalk can be inspiring to kids. Give your child a place to draw, cut, and paste and you'll have a busy, content, and creative child for hours. Vary the art materials often to keep your child interested. You'll never know what sort of art projects your child may enjoy creating unless you provide a lot of different things from which to choose. This does not have to be expensive. Reusing paper bags for drawing is one way to stretch a dollar when creating an art project. Look around your house and see what you have that could be turned into art. Newspapers and magazines headed for recycling may provide your child the inspiration for a new art project, and at a bargain. Please SUPERVISE closely if you don't want your child to have a self-induced bad haircut or attach the dog to the artwork!

Check out this creative project. All you need is a pencil sharpener and colored pencils. 

Build a Mini House - You don't have to buy a large, expensive doll house for your child to enjoy the pleasures of play acting with dolls and creating an environment for them to live in. With a few boxes and craft items you have around, you can help your child build a house and decorate it to suit her taste and imagination. Scraps of wallpaper, fabric, small pictures or just about anything can be used to furnish the doll's new home. Then, listen as your child moves the dolls around through the house, living out their doll lives, and see if you don't pick up on some funny dialogue your child is using. Your child's doll world will be a place to explore all sorts of curious ideas that aren't possible in the world outside of the doll house. Sit with your child and enjoy the stories.

Read Books - Can any house have enough books? Make sure your house has a nice selection of great fiction and non-fiction books alike. A mix of the two is important so kids can choose and so that they see they have a choice. Some homes lack a good supply of non-fiction books, especially during the pre-school years. There are enough suitable books in science, history and art to fill the bookshelves of any child's room, no matter the age. Your non-fiction library will not only be interesting to your inquisitive child, but will be a good base for learning to research material later in their school years and beyond. Fiction on the bookshelves spurs the imagination and helps the not-so-eager reader stay interested long enough to learn that reading is important and fun! 

Your imagination as a parent is what will help your child develop their own imagination. When you create an environment for exploring the world, you are giving your child an opportunity to use their mind. Technology will always be there, but a child's imagination is a changing and growing thing. You're making it possible for your child to soar!

Let your kids tell you a story...

Nicole Dean submitted this article to on December 30, 2009. She is a work-at-home mom of two and owner of

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