7 Easy Steps to Stretch Your Child’s Imagination will help you find ways for your children to enhance their creative power.
“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
My grandmother was a very wise woman. She loved nothing more than having her grandchildren around her. She was the queen of knowing how to create a fun environment that let our creativity soar.
Half my grandmother’s basement was dedicated to ceramics with her own kiln and molds. We loved to pick out our new project to paint and see our work of art completed before we left.
Each time my sister and I visited home, we knew an adventure awaited. She always had fun projects for us to do and all of her grandchildren have warm memories as a result of her thoughtfulness.
Here are the 7 Easy Steps to Stretch Your Child’s Imagination:
1) Odds and ends.
One of my favorite memories of my grandmother’s house was a one-week visit with one of my cousins.
She had a trailer out back, and she set up a table full of odds and ends that we could create cards. Ribbons, glitter, glue, scraps of fabric, and a bag of lima beans were just some of the items we used to make homemade greetings.
My cousin and I spent the whole week making the cards of “lima bean people.” We used the lima bean as the head and then all the other odds and ends we used to make hats, dresses, pants, shirts, and accessories for each card.
Not only were we fully using our imaginations that week, but we bonded by having that time to get to know each other and tell fun stories.
Every time I see a bag of lima beans in the grocery store, a warm memory of my grandmother, cousin and “lima bean people” comes flooding back.
How you can incorporate this idea into your life:
Get a large box dedicated to “odds and ends.” Put all types of paper, scissors, material, beads, glue, ribbons, pipe cleaners, paints, stickers and anything else you can find in the box.
Have the box ready for when the kids are looking for something fun to do. You can assign a project or let the kids pick their own.
Some of the things your children can make are:
4) illustrated diaries
6) paper mosaics
7) towns made out or cardboard tubes and boxes
2) Kindness rocks.
Encouraging your children to paint rocks and hide them for others to find is such a great way to teach kids to do simple nice things for others.
The Kindness rock movement got started in the Pacific Northwest and has spread rapidly throughout the world.
The idea is to paint rocks with inspirational words or beautiful pictures and then you seal them. On the back of the rock, you ask whoever finds the rock to post it on facebook to your local rock group.
Not only do you make rocks for others, but a walk in the park turns into a fun rock hunt.
For more information about the Kindness Rock Project, I wrote a few posts about it which you can find here:
3) Library card.
There’s something so magical about a library. As a book lover, I have so many happy memories of being at the library and looking for that perfect book I wanted to check out.
I still love libraries, and I frequent them often. Instill the love of books and reading in your kids at an early age. Read to them in bed, make a trip to the library an adventure, and give the gifts of books during special occasions.
Some ideas on getting your child to read more books:
Have a friendly family competition on the amount of monthly books read.
Bring books with you when you’re running errands and if there’s any waiting time offer the book to your child.
Attend events the library has like readings, crafts and other fun activities. Check their calendar for upcoming attractions.
Check out different types of books. Children’s cookbooks, gardening, crafting are just some ideas in addition to picture books.
4) Scavenger hunt.
Develop a love for the outdoors with your kids by getting outside at every opportunity. Encourage them to explore their surroundings by creating a scavenger hunt checklist.
On one scavenger hunt, make them collect one of each item on the list. Another scavenger hunt can be purely visual, like identifying birds, animal tracks or the tallest tree.
5) Photo shoot.
This is an idea I wish someone had done with me. I enjoy taking pictures, so I would have loved to have a head start on my skills by learning to take photographs when I was young.
Here are some ideas on photoshoots kids will love:
Have your children take a picture of your family cooking or of the kids cooking. Make sure you take pictures of the ingredients and steps it takes to make a culinary delight.
Go outside and take a photo of that cute squirrel that visits your feeder every day or gets a close-up of those bees buzzing in your garden.
Have your kids draw pictures on the sidewalk or driveway and then take pictures of their masterpieces.
Have the kids follow your pet around and get the details of his or her daily activities: waking up, eating, playing outside, snuggling with family members and any traits that are uniquely theirs.
Have a fashion show where one child is the model, and the other is the photographer. Bonus points for the most outrageous outfits.
Have your kids create their own stories by giving them prompts on different topics. Once upon a time on Planet Zuro there lived a…and let them fill in the blanks.
If you have more than one child, have them take turns adding to the story after every sentence.
Have everyone act out parts of each scene.
7) Toy snob.
Be choosy about what type of toys you bring into the home. You want toys that FUEL imaginations.
You never know how one toy may change the course of your child’s life forever. The girl that loves to build houses becomes an architect or the boy that loves spaceships becomes an astronaut.
Pick out toys that are:
Involve physical exercise
Artistic in nature
We’ve reached the end of 7 Easy Steps to Stretch Your Child’s Imagination. I hope you found an idea or two that will spark your creative juices.
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