If you’re reading this, you may be among the many parents who consider yourself creatively challenged, as in ‘I can’t draw a straight line, so how can I possibly develop my own child’s potential?’
It turns out that much of what is required of you to nurture creativity in your child is not hinging on your own artistic skills or aptitude. Think of yourself as a facilitator, the liaison between your child’s expression and the means through which this is achieved. Children are inherently creative and require very little in the way of direct parental modeling or involvement in this area. It is not necessary for you to have mastered color theory or to be an expert on perspective, scale and composition to encourage your child’s expression.
So what can you do that goes beyond issuing the standard box of crayons, scissors and coloring books?
Providing an environment that inspires imagination is a significant part of nurturing creative development:
- Allow your child to make a mess!
Don’t be afraid to designate a space for ongoing projects and creations- a child-sized table for this very purpose is great. Consider keeping a bin close by of blank paper of different colors, sizes and textures along with a variety of mediums like paints, pastels, clay and even household castoffs such as bits of foil, scraps of string, yarn, fabric, old magazines and even chunky hardware… you never know how your child will reimagine these seemingly unrelated elements with a little glue and combine them to make what is known in the art world as a mixed media!
- Check out others’ art
Another great way to bring out the artist in your child is to spend an hour or so at a local museum, or an outdoor art show your community might sponsor. There shouldn’t be any big agenda here- don’t worry if your child doesn’t show a lot of enthusiasm about a particular sculpture or painting, just flow with his interest. The mere act of experiencing art for a person of any age is expansive for the soul and stimulates thought and imagination.
- Show your encouragement
Finally, don’t forget the single most important act of encouragement you can give your child as she develops as an artist: your authentic appreciation, interest and praise for a project or creation completed. Nothing says ‘I value your work’ like choosing a space together to display her creation proudly in your home to share with the rest of the family and friends!