Children find a lot of wonder and excitement in the everyday things that adults are just used to. Giving children the independence and freedom to discover their world is great for their development. Create an environment that encourages creativity and play, where children are free to explore and create.
Encouraging creative play isn’t expensive and there are many ideas that you can incorporate into your playroom or childcare program that don’t cost extra.
There are so many cheap craft items that can keep kids busily creating! Chalk, stamps, crayons and markers- just add paper! The key is to make an area where it’s okay for them to get messy and see what they come up with.
Collages – Provide old magazines and colored paper to cut up. Show kids how to create their own collage by taping or gluing paper scraps. Cutting with safety scissors is good practice for a child’s motor skills.
Sculpture – You can find a lot of usable craft material in your recycling bin. Collect materials like cardboard cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, paper clips, and plastic yogurt containers. With tape, yarn, or string, children can create their own sculptures or props. There are so many fun ideas on the internet – like making musical instruments! An oatmeal container can be a drum, rubber bands and a cereal box can make a guitar.
Nature Walk – There are so many interesting discoveries to make outside! Help children pay close attention by giving them a nature scavenger hunt of specific things to find. Look for beautiful leaves or different textures to make crayon rubbings of. Gather sticks and grass to build a nest or create a bug habitat.
Plant a Garden – Children love to play in the dirt. Make a garden box just for children, where it’s okay to dig around. Help them plant their own seeds (bean sprouts are fast growing) and make vegetable signs for their garden. They will love to help water the plants and see the progress of their sprouts.
Encourage children to play dress-up, role play, and pretend by providing a collection of costumes and fun accessories.
Act it out – A curtain rod and a sheet make a quick and easy stage. Kids can dress up as book characters and act out the plot of their favorite story. Or they can role play grown-up occupations like doctor or firefighter.
Wild things – Pretending to be an animal is a common childhood activity. Play a game where the children mimic specific animals through noises or the way they move around.
Puppets – Puppets are easy to find or have kids make their own out of paper sacs or socks and have them put on a show! Prepare for a memorable performance.