Allowing your child’s creativity to flourish
I let my child climb up the slippery slide. Of course, I teach her to be aware of the other children playing. Naturally, I step in to ensure that there are no collisions. I watch her carefully and ensure she doesn’t fall. But in an empty playground she often enjoys climbing up the slippery slide again and again. I’ll never tell her that the slide is for sliding down. Because, dear adults, with your heads full of boring adult rules, here is a newsflash—that’s just not true. The whole of the playground, the slides, the ladders, the swings, climbing frames, is for play. If you want to allow your child’s creativity to flourish then you need to start by recognising that children come into this world naturally creative. Babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers spend most of their time playing. Play is creativity. Play is spontaneous, fun and uninhibited. There are no rules and it doesn’t need to be taught. Becoming a parent is a marvellous opportunity to re-discover creative play yourself. And the best bit? Discovering that it is actually easy, effortless and fun. All you need to do is:
- Drop the rules. Why can’t the sun be purple and the sky green? Why can’t a banana be a phone? Why not climb up the slippery slide?
- Let go of criticism. Play requires free experimentation without judgment.
- Let go of goals. You play because play is fun. That’s what play means. Having a specific goal for play tends to turn play into something else…like work.
- Let your child lead. Let go of any set ideas of your own and let your child decide how the play will unfold.
- Follow the joy. Remember, play is fun so chase the giggles.
Allow your child’s creativity to flourish and you may even rediscover your own as well.
Apply it to your life: Can you drop the rules and criticism and rediscover creative play with your child?
Going up the slide is a great analogy for play for its own sake, without having to follow rules. Mine did that and twisted their swings to let them unwind and spin. As long as it wasn’t dangerous or bothering others, I let them explore what happens if.
The Creativity Institute