One of the joys of having children is watching their natural creativity and curiosity blossom. Parents can encourage their budding artist or inventor by providing playthings that will help them build upon these natural traits. Instead of electronic gizmos that can only be used in a certain way, look for toys that will inspire them to try new things and express themselves.
Building things is only the beginning when it comes to blocks. Children can use them to create their own worlds that will provide a backdrop for pretend play. Stacking blocks provides a great opportunity to practice fine motor skills and learn about cause and effect. As they grow older and move on to more elaborate constructions, they will learn how to create a plan in their mind and carry it out in a methodological manner.
Parents and caregivers can help children explore new possibilities with their building blocks, but be careful about taking over. If your child is getting discouraged, help them look for solutions to their problem by making suggestions and asking “what if?” questions.
Set up the block play area in an open, out of the way space so that treasured creations can stay intact for a day or two. If your child is reluctant to destroy their creation to tidy up, offer to take a picture so that they can preserve their memory of their hard work.
Arts and Crafts Supplies
What could be better than a stack of fresh paper and a new box of crayons? Arts and crafts are a wonderful way to encourage your child’s creativity and help them develop fine motor skills. It’s also a good way to spend quality one on one time with your child, especially when you’ve both got a bit of cabin fever.
One of the best things about arts and crafts supplies is that you don’t have to spend a fortune. In fact, you can incorporate all sorts of household items into your creations and give your child an excellent lesson in how to reuse and recycle while having fun.
As you work together, do let your child exercise their own creativity but also gently encourage them to take their time and improve their skills and technique. You can show them how to make little lines with their crayon to stay inside the lines or use their free hand to move the paper to cut out a pattern. Don't push too hard, but do emphasize that practice is a fun way to learn a new skill!
Watching children imitate the adults around them is a pure delight! It’s their way of trying on different roles and fulfilling their drive to master the world around them. Toys that are safe, miniature versions of the tools that mom and dad use are sure to be great favorites.
As much as possible, avoid imposing gender stereotypes on your child by the toys you choose for them. Both boys and girls will love playing with cookery sets, toy tools and toy cleaning supplies. These are often available in gender neutral colors as well. Some children will insist on only having “girl” things or “boy” things and some won’t care at all - it’s all normal and natural, so don’t be alarmed wherever your child falls on the spectrum.
Doll houses and other toy structures are also a good way to encourage pretend play. And don’t forget about costumes! They don’t have to be expensive or elaborate, in fact many children can take a simple towel and use it for everything from a cape to a wig to a gown.