Encouraging Creativity in Children

Welcome to Week One of the month-long Carnival of Creative Mothers to celebrate the launch of The Rainbow Way: Cultivating Creativity in the Midst of Motherhood
by Lucy H. Pearce
Today’s topic is Nurturing a Culture of Creativity at Home. Be sure to read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Join the Carnival and be in with a chance to win a free e-copy of The Rainbow Way!

November 27th: Creative Heroines.
December 4th: Creative Inheritance.
December 11th: The Creative Process.

One day in third grade I stood with my teachers during indoor recess.  I shared with them my experience of meeting aliens the night before.  My story was elaborate; detail filled and specific.  It was a good story.

I remember sitting at my desk after recess. It was time to journal. Armed with a notebook, pencil, and crayons, my hand would not permit the words in my head to land on the page. Illustrations?  No way.  That was for special people- those born with the gift.  I was eight.  Surely I would have know by then if I myself posessed it.

So I wrote the standard stuff.  I quieted my mind as it raced with details well beyond my years, and wrote of what my family had for dinner the night before, and why I liked my sister.  It was safe. Expected. Nobody would know the vivid and wild thoughts in my head, and they would not draw attention to an insecure me.

Encouraging Creativity

Allowing children to be creative means removing the things that block their creativity; the judgment, boxes, and expectations.  It means not only accepting them for who they are, but appreciating all of their uniqueness.  Being creative takes courage.  This means thinking differently, breaking the rules, and putting oneself in front of others in a vulnerable way.  How can one be creative without confidence?

How much are children held back by not feeling secure enough to share themselves wildly and completely?  Each time a child pulls back a little to play it safe the world has lost something.  Not only has a piece of this individual disappeared, but so has their thought- a thought that could have led the world in an entirely different direction.

Encouraging Creativity in Children OurMuddyBoots.com
Encouraging Creativity in Children OurMuddyBoots.com

What is the alternative?

We can let children be who they are.  Instead of telling them what to wear, who to be friends with and what to write about, we can embrace who they already are, and who they are becoming.  We can love their purple hair and brilliant excuses for not finishing their homework.  We can accept that they do not learn in a way that is convenient for us.

We can stop second guessing them and holding them accountable for things that we ourselves find dreadful.  We can trust their words and capabilities.  We can listen intently and marvel at the thoughts in their head- which they choose to share with us!

We can stop pretending that sports are more valuable than art, and that books are better than video games.  We can stop judging our children and telling them how to live.

Say what?!

Instead, we can give our children the acceptance that builds real self confidence- the kind that makes them willing to take all sorts of risks, because they know they will not fall far when they fail.  We can appreciate them so much that instead of seeing unexpected outcomes as failure, they see it for what it is:  the next step in the process, the thing which frees their next creative thought…their next draft, or painting, the capability to clear the next level, or design that next cake.

Encouraging creativity in children requires nothing from us, except overriding everything we have ever known.  It means closing our mouths and opening our minds.  It means keeping our own egos at bay so that our children fulfill their dreams, instead of ours.

In its simplest terms, encouraging creativity in children means loving kids for who they are.  When children are loved unconditionally, all things are possible.


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  • Carnival host and author of The Rainbow Way, Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares an extract from the chapter Nurturing a Family Culture of Creativity.
  • Lilly Higgins is a passionate food writer. Now a mother of two boys, she’s discovered a new calling: to instil in them a love of food and creativity in the kitchen.
  • DeAnna L’am shares how visioning the New Year with your child is an invitation to be inspired: use creativity and resolutions to create a fun road map for the year ahead.
  • Molly at Talk Birth on Releasing Our Butterflies – balancing motherhood with creativity.
  • Laura shares some of the creativity happening at Nestled Under Rainbows and a few thoughts about creativity.
  • Georgie at Visual Toast celebrates her own unique culture of creativity at home.
  • Esther at Nurtureworkshop spreads the love of the ordinary, the delights of everyday things that can be an adventure of the imagination.
  • For Dawn at The Barefoot Home creativity is always a free form expression to be shared by all in a supportive environment where anything can be an art material.
  • Naomi at Poetic Aperture is a mother, artist and photographer who tries to keep her daughter away from the expensive pens and paints.
  • Aimee at Creativeflutters writes about keeping your sanity and creativity intact with small kids in the house in her post: Mother + Creativity – They Must Coexist.
  • Amelia at My Grandest Adventure embarks on a 30 Days of Creativity challenge…you can too!
  • Becky at Raising Loveliness explores creating with her smaller family members.
  • Jennifer at Let Your Soul Shine reveals how children help us connect to our souls, through music and movement.
  • Mary at The Turquoise Paintbrush shares her experiences of creating with kids.
  • Joanna at Musings of a Hostage Mother explains why creativity at home is important to her in her post “I nurture a creative culture.”
  • It took until Amy at Mama Dynamite was pregnant aged 35 to discover her dormant creative
    streak – she has found lovely ways of tuning into it every since.
  • Emily at The Nest explores how creativity runs through her family’s life together.
  • Jennifer at OurMuddyBoots sees that encouraging creativity in children is as simple as appreciating them for who they are: it just means overriding everything we know!
  • Lisa from Mama.ie has discovered that a combination of writing and traditional crafts can provide a creative outlet during those busy early years of new motherhood.
  • Anna at Biromums shares what nurturing a culture of creativity means to her.
  • Zoie at TouchstoneZ argues that the less they are interfered with, the more creative children become as they grow up.
  • Darcel at The Mahogany Way celebrates creating with her kids.
  • Sally (aka The Ginger Ninja) of The Ginger Chronicles is continually inspired by her own mum and grandmother.
  • Just being creative is enough, says Nicki at Just Like Play, as she ponders her journey of nurturing a creative family.
  • Allurynn shares her creative family’s musings in her post “Creativity… at the Heart of it” on Moonlight Muse.
  • Laura at Authentic Parenting explores how being creative saves her sanity.
  • Mama is Inspired talks about how she puts an emphasis on the handmade in her home, especially in the holiday season.
  • Kirstin at Listen to the Squeak Inside shares with you several easy ways for busy mamas and dads to encourage their children to be creative every day.
  • Mila at Art Play Day always lived in her dreams, sleepwalking through life … now she is finding out what creativity is all about…. her inner child!
  • Sadhbh at Where Wishes Come From describes how picture books can nurture creativity in young children.
  • On womansart blog this week – nurturing a creative culture at home.

4 Replies to “Encouraging Creativity in Children”

  1. Hi Jennifer,

    So much wisdom in here. I think it is so important to allow children to know their way, and not expect that because we are adults we know better. I can remember several situations where I have been surprised at by following the lead of my 3-year old daughter, she was leading me down a path that was right for her and just as right as the one I had in my head was.

    Recently, I learned some lessons myself from her about feeling lucky about what is happening in the current situation – far more creative than the things I am generally grateful for! http://www.jennifer-dawn.org/?p=299


    Oh, and I love the name of your website!

  2. Wow! What a lot of momentum behind a simple, and yet vital concept! While that long list of blogs is completely new to me, I find it synchronistic that I seem to be very much on the same page. Perhaps it is the time of year? My creative urges have been strong as of late and hints of that are dappled through the “pages” of my blog. My boy is fairly young for crafting, although he does love to color, paint with watercolors, and sculpt with playdough. But he recently came into a few sets of duplo blocks and it is such a pleasure to see his imagination run free and long with them! To make, dismantle, and make again is such a basic human pleasure!

  3. Hi Jennifer, thank you so much for taking part in the Carnival and sharing your wisdom. Heading straight over to Pinterest to pin your meme.

  4. Yes and yes! Confidence building is so important for children (well I suppose it is for everyone). As a lover of order I often have to remind myself of a few of your points.