There are countless toys and apps for babies --like Lamaze and Baby Einstein for instance-- that enhance a child's brain development. All these could be really effective, of course, but what we have prepared for you here are the easiest and not-too-expensive methods of improving or sharpening a child's imagination and creativity.
These two things work hand in hand. We can say they are twins, and that one will not matter or exist without the other. The following are simple activities that can be done with just a little preparation and offer tons of benefits and positive results.
10 Encourage Reading
Reading stimulates the brain, and it's always best to do this activity together with our child. Especially if our kid is just learning how to read. It's our job to guide them, motivate and inspire them, then applaud them at the end of every page.
Colorful reading books help with their imagination and are always better reading material for the young ones. For older children, we could have them read a short story, then let them tell us what they think about the story. Acknowledging their feelings during and after reading is as important as having them read regularly.
9 Collaborative bedtime stories
Storybooks at bedtime can be more creative and interesting for a child. But this activity doesn't have to be a bedtime story. We don't want our kids so riled up after a good session of collaborative bedtime storytelling that it gets harder to put them to bed. Regular storytelling in general dials up their imaginative juices to 100 percent.
Make up a story, "Once upon a time there was a..." then let them decide who the lead character will be. "She was a girl with long blond hair and big, beautiful green eyes. Her eyes are so green, they're just like her pet....." then let them think again. Keep this up and you might just create a world as interesting as Harry Potter's.
8 Have daily recaps
If you can, as soon as your kids get settled at home from school, ask them about their day. Really listen to their answer. Asking follow-up questions lets them know we are paying attention and would make them want to share some more.
Ask them what their feelings were during that situation they told you about, ask what they did and what they could have done. Offer advice, but don't force it. The goal is for them to share, and for us to listen.
7 Play easy, creative games
Games are always an activity that captures the attention of a child, no matter what age they are. Play some games with them regularly, and once they know the rules and how to play them, add some new rules. Change the status quo, keep them on their toes, get them out of their comfort zones.
Play The Floor is Lava (for younger kids) as it is a game that can easily engage a child and activate their imagination. Change the rules: "anything that's white is also lava!" then "anything that I touch becomes lava!" For older kids, try easy word games like hangman, play them regularly, then change some rules later, too.
6 Art is good
Some studies state that being artistic is genetic for some people. But we'd also like to think that it's like a switch that needs to be turned on early in a person's life.
Children as young as three can show good promise, once they're given crayons and a piece of paper. Start them with easy tools, then try water-based coloring materials. Let them do it, never instruct them, as this delays the artistic process. If they have the talent, get them going every day and invest in new materials for their art-making.
5 Tell them stories
Children love to listen to their parents. They may have a short attention span compared to adults, but that window of attention they give us is 100 percent pure unbiased attention. So let's practice telling them stories about ourselves, about something that we want to share with them, or even our feelings in general.
If we want them sharing and telling us everything, then we should also be open to doing it ourselves. Make this a habit, but have just a 3-5 minute session every day with them. Make it more colorful, interesting, and educational.
4 Going out is stimulating
Regular excursions are very healthy. They might not say it much, but kids need the outdoors because, quite simply, it is a whole new world.
A short trip to the park will pay dividends in terms of the new things they will be seeing on the way there. There will be neurons firing all over, curiosity at its peak, endless question after question about something new they see.
3 Pose challenges for them
Every activity that we engage our children in, or even something that they like to do by themselves, can get repetitive and mundane. Some parents might not even recognize that, and that's normal.
It's our job to make it challenging for them, just like the simple changing of rules in games. Let's break the routine and work harder for our kids and the development of their creativity and imagination.
2 Find out what they are born to do
Our children can find that passion, that thing they enjoy doing the most, that they excel at. They might find it early in life, in their teenage years, or later in life, when they’re already young professionals. What we can do, as parents, is help them find their passion early.
Let’s observe and see what they are exceptional at doing. Is it singing or painting? Learning music, like playing the guitar or the piano? What do they talk to you about most of the time? What do they have strong feelings about? Identify and then nurture it.
1 Be patient in all of it
We do what we can for our children, all day and all night. That’s a truth that will never change. It’s just that sometimes we, as parents, have days that are too busy and too stressful that our patience wears thin.
That’s okay, we’re only human. We just have to re-focus ourselves, take a deep breath, and remember that we are now with our precious children. No matter what the issue is, we need to be in the present when it comes to them. Even when we are tired, upset, or stressed, it does not matter, they should always come first.