Creative Play - What Parents Need to Know

Posted by on 3/20/2019
For children, being able to freely express their thoughts and feelings, creatively, is an act of turning new, imaginative, personal feelings and ideas into reality. This activity builds lifelong self-confidence and emotional well-being.  In any form of creativity:
Drawing, painting, coloring, folding, cutting and pasting paper
Building with blocks, rings and magnetic tiles 
Making colorful sticky goop, puffy paint, glitter glue 
Dressing up in hand-made masks and costumes, to play-pretend (role playing), and become a powerful ninja, princess, pirate, or superhero
Interacting with dragons, knights, swords, and castles against the forces of evil 
Constructing tall buildings, rockets, space stations, and tree houses from inter-connecting bricks

These actions, and many more, are a child’s early tactile and emotional experiences with self-expression. All the efforts made to create something which is entirely their own, using their multi-faceted and beautiful brains, is an integral, even crucial, part of normal, healthy development in this ever-evolving world.

Playing Creatively – Necessary Engagement

Play is simple and complex for growing children. Parents need to understand and acknowledge that play is more than fun, it’s a huge part of the learning process.  As Maria Montessori often said, “Play is the work of children.”  She felt that providing an appropriate place for experimentation, an environment in which children had a space to “act out their feelings and let their imagination soar”; provides the stimulus for emotional growth, while relieving stress, anxiety and energy-overload.  
Researchers continually study the fundamental processes of playing and learning.  Just as physical play builds strong hearts, bodies, good muscle development, eye-hand co-ordination, and fine motor skills; creative play allows children to begin and continue, interacting in situations of their very own creation, which teaches them to problem solve, develop strategic thinking, increase their vocabulary, and focus their curiosity, for longer periods of time, until knowledge is gained.

Through Creative Play, Children Begin to Love Learning

The word creativity means “to grow”. Through the eyes of children, the world is a living entity, and every challenge is an opportunity to inquire, make, discover, learn more, or do something extraordinary, unique and often, magical.  It’s exciting to believe, as most children do, that everyone is born with an innate ability to be creative and achieve whatever they wish for and desire.

Parents must note that reading and storytelling are two critical elements of creative play. Choosing books, with your children, from trips to the library, with it’s amazing Storytime, or the neighborhood bookstore, and peaking their interests in a diverse number of subjects, lets them, and parents too, learn about each other’s likes and curiosities. Picture or chapter books, rhythming words, and even duo-language books, for fluency, are often the precursor to a lifetime of loving literature. Reading to and storytelling with children:
o Increases brain activity,
o Imparts an innate need for knowledge
o Teaches concentration
o Develops listening skills, teaches us to love, forgive and trust 
o Fascinates and stirs creativity, as they identify with the characters
o Demonstrates that entertainment through reading is fulfilling

Co-Play Time, Creatively Engaging with Children  

As involved, “scaffolding” parents, trusting and exhibiting your own playful instincts, teaches your children to have values, such as honesty, fairness, team-building, empathy for others, resilience and a respect for the rules of engagement. Here again, parents need to know that their role in co-play, is to provide a light structure to this shared time, which stimulates, not dominates, the activity; and gently encourages children to bring their special touches, and thinking, to whatever is built, drawn, played with, read, or even acted out. During co-play, the parent’s goal is to peak their interests in discovery, while encouraging the making of one-of-a-kind masterpieces, and inspiring children to ask questions, share feelings, and find true satisfaction in what is being accomplished.

Creativity in all that is done in youth, inspires creativity in all that children will become. The key to a child’s success in school, socially and in being happy, starts and endures through the positive involvement of parents, and parental figures.

The Upside of Creative Play – Seeing Life as a Celebration

Lastly, parents should give themselves permission to act like children, at least a little bit again, when engaged in co-playtime with children. Creative play affords children a portal to begin to truly enjoy learning about themselves, their parents and the world. This form of play activity makes the world incredibly more vibrant, and interesting, as artistic mindsets view even the simplest entities as having remarkable, dazzling, dramatic and stunning possibilities. Life is a celebration highly valued when this kind of positive, hopeful and intelligent thinking is afforded children in copious amounts from loving parental figures.

The time wisely spent in creative co-play, can be rewarded with unique surprises, when your family plays The Lucky Poke Game, together, to see who among you can find the most prizes, and stop with just one turn at this fun-filled,  imagination inspired, family game.
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