The best way to encourage creativity in young children is to provide them with lots of opportunities to be creative. Give children lots of different experiences (visiting farms, looking at art, talking with relatives, listening to music) from which they may pull ideas. Provide materials and time for open-ended exploration, such as free painting time or scarves and props for pretend play, alongside more structured crafts and activities. When children do express their creative side, notice the process and ask questions, rather than placing a value judgment on the work. Instead of saying, "This is a great drawing," try: "Tell me about this drawing. I noticed you used a lot of red, why did you choose that color? I notice you have been very focused on this, what caught your interest?" Show you value creativity by leaving room in your schedule for unstructured artistic, musical, and pretend play—do not feel you need to jump in with suggestions and structure if your child is happily creating!
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