Creative play doesn’t have to be messy and doesn’t have to involve paint or glitter! You can get creative with your little one by making music, acting, singing or dancing, the only rule of creative play is to express yourself.
Creative play provides so many life lessons and skills that your little ones will carry with them forever. Each creative play activity encourages different skills and provides different benefits but all are important.
There’s a strong chance your little one loves painting and colouring and things can get a little excitable! Don’t be afraid to head out into the garden with your paint so your only worry is bath time!
The garden is full of opportunities for creative play, let your little one paint the fence or the patio with water, when it dries they can start again. The garden is also the perfect place to try out some chalk, easy to wash away, or just wait for the rain! Playcolor Makeup and Textile lets little ones design their own clothes that they can wear again and again to show off their hard work, it makes a fantastic gift and it’s a great way to celebrate their creativity!
Painting lets your little one explore textures and shapes with complete freedom. Don’t stress over asking them what they’re painting. The truth is, they may not have thought about the final product. The outcome doesn’t matter, just that they’re enjoying themselves.
Painting will also allow your little ones to express feelings and thoughts, it’s unlikely they’ll paint a physical representation of their feelings, but being creative allows them to explore self-expression creative impulses.
Getting creative with little ones doesn’t even need to involve physical play. Storytelling is a great way to get those creative juices flowing! Spend time making up stories with your little ones – let them take the lead and see where it takes you. Giving little ones time to explore creativity through speech will improve their language development and concentration span. It’s also a fantastic way for little ones to tell you what they are worried or thinking about and gives them a chance to explore solutions through play. If you’re not a storyteller yourself or you’ve got a few little ones, our storyonics games give you a great starting point and a little more structure whilst still engaging their imagination!
Turn story time into a creative play session with a story sack. Take your storybook and make a physical game out of the story. Use puppets or dressing up clothes to act out and expand on the storyline and explore the lessons in the book.
Turn up the volume and have a dance party! Most little ones won’t take much convincing to start dancing and while they are jumping about they’re developing gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination while having a blast! There are also countless physical benefits to dance, learning about motion, body awareness, balance and coordination and they’re all great fun to explore!
Repetition can be a great tool in child learning. Nursery rhymes are often repetitive and this helps your little one identify patterns and learn through repetition. Anticipating the next line of a song and trying to sing along will improve their speech and help to develop pathways between cells and the brain. Developing these skills helps little ones learn literacy and numeracy.
Music can also be used to explore emotions, identifying how different songs make us feel will help your little ones understand feelings. Lullabies make us tired and relax, faster pop songs make us excitable and want to dance. Take this time to think about how the body moves to different sounds, slow and gentle movements to a lullaby for example, and jumping and clapping to an upbeat song, this will focus attention on how their body moves and how music can make us feel. This can also be a great way to communicate the behaviour you expect at certain times.
Acting and Puppets
Acting gives little ones a chance to make sense of the world and find solutions to worries. As your little one takes on different characters they’ll develop a deeper understanding of how someone in that situation would feel, developing empathy and creativity.
You can encourage acting and role play by providing props. If you don’t have any dressing up clothes, one of mum or dads t-shirts can make a great costume! Bits and bobs from around the house also work wonders, old pans and wooden spoons can become a whole host of things. Buy or make some puppets and put on an afternoon show for the whole family, acting out favourite books and things you’ve seen throughout the week.
Making your own music is just as important as listening. Whether you use a bucket and a wooden spoon or toy instrument, early introduction to making sound and rhythm is a great way to encourage creativity.
You don’t need lots of tools and resources to enjoy creative play with your little ones, mud, water, sand, shadows and nature can all be perfect for creative play time and they’re free!