How to Foster Creativity and Problem Solving

It is important to foster creativity and problem solving through play. As parents, we strive to raise children who are able to think outside the box and explore who they are and what they enjoy. Here are some ideas for encouraging creativity in your home.

Fostering creativity and problem solving through play and learning activities

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It has been wonderful to have a toddler who is starting to problem solve very creatively and talk some more (can you see my happy dance over the Internet?)  Here was the conversation between my 2 year old and his Papa last night.

2 Year Old: Horse up high.  Papa get it.
Papa: Do you want me to get the horse down for you?
2 Year Old:  reach (shows reaching arms)
Papa: It is too high for me to reach (shows reaching arms)
2 Year Old: tiptoes
Papa: Still to high (stands on his tiptoes and reaches)
2 Year Old: : step stool
Papa: I still can't reach it (stands on the step stool and reaches)
2 Year Old:  tiptoes on step stool
Papa: Nope, still too high (stands tiptoe on the step stool and reaches)

At this point, the conversation had my utmost attention.  I was amazed at his use of words and problem solving skills.  Just a week ago, he would have melted on the ground kicking and screaming.  I couldn't wait to see how this would end!

2 Year Old:  CHAIR! (drags a kitchen chair over)
Papa: Still to high (climbs on the chair and reaches(
2 Year Old:   TIPTOE on CHAIR!
Papa:  GOT IT!!!!! (tiptoes on chair!)
2 Year Old: Thank you!!! (claps for Papa!)

How excited that he was able creatively problem solve.  His Papa did a great job too of letting him!  Sometimes it is the act of stepping back and allowing them the opportunity to try!

Besides taking a step back and letting them solve their own problems, here are some other ways that you can encourage creativity and problem solving in your home:

Sing Songs and Make Up Fingerplays:

Although having a highly active, motivated, strong willed toddler can be a challenge, I find myself enjoying our time together immensely.  He keeps me on the tips of my toes (literally!).
Last week, I shared with you the book I have been reading about “The Books of Fingerplays & Action Songs,” compiled by John n. Feierabend. 

 We are continuing to use the fingerplays and songs this week, but are adding some open-ended art explorations to our week as well. I encourage him to get silly in his actions and we even change the words.

setting up the activity to make home-made paint with cornstartch, half and half, water, and food coloring

Explore a Variety of Materials:

The book I am using this week is "First Art for Toddlers and Twos: Open-Ended Art Experiences ," a book about open ended art experiences. If you are not able to get your hands on a copy of this book, MaryAnn Kohler, one of the authors of this book, has posted 20 of the home-made paint recipes on her blog. We tried the creamer paint right away.  I had to do a double take when it said "cream." Did it mean half and half?  I tried it and it worked well.  The paint dried surprisingly smooth and it was a fun texture to paint with.  We use a roll of old fax paper to give my tot more room to explore!

We didn't use all the paint in the morning and just covered the muffin tin with wax paper and put it in the fridge to paint again after nap.  A couple of the paints were harder than others, so I just added a touch of water to those ones.

Allow For Open Ended Exploration:

And who can forget to include Mud Paint into their learning week?  Well, it sure goes along with what we believe in - the power of play, outdoors, and creativity! Although there are times when I will suggest an activity to do, most often, I allow my toddler to take the lead. He found a bucket of water and stirred in some mud to make paint outside.  I thought it was a great idea and brought out a paper bag for him to paint on.  As you can tell by the pictures, my tot thinks this is tons of fun!  Dirt and water - who could ask for anything better?

Encourage thinking outside the box.
Use materials in a different way and encourage your children to do the same.  Instead of using a "real" paintbrush, use a pine branch. Instead of a playdough kit from the store, use the garlic press.  Don't limit experiences by what you "think" they should look like.

For more art ideas, follow along with our Art for Children board Follow The Educators' Spin On It's board Art with Children on Pinterest. 

For more toddler play and learning activities here at The Educators' Spin On It, we recommend:


Happy Learning!


Jenny said...

Love your homemade paint. Looks like it worked really well.

Giggly Girls said...

How fun!!! I have girls and they tend to get squirrely about anything involving dirt. lol

Becca B. {Ironic Adventures} said...

Oh that book looks like lots of fun! Pretty paint colors too.

Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

This is a great book and I bought it when my dd was younger! It was a wonderful resource for toddler art activities! Lots of contact paper and dough ideas! I don't remember the creamer paint!

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas said...

awesome & I used this book both for work and for my girls when they were younger! You will get tons out of it!

Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase - hope to see you this week.


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