Creativity, play, and absurdity are good for the soul and the brain! I urge you, whether your child is a tot, school-age, a teen, or even a grown adult- make time for play. Play actually increases creativity and happiness.
How can you build more of it into your day? Play requires that we slow down and take time to simply be together in the present moment. So many of us are used to fast-paced and highly scheduled daily routines. The first tip is put the phone down and just be with your children. Beyond that, how you practice creativity with your kids really depends on your child's age, abilities, and interests. Here are a few suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing, I'm confident that once you get going the sky is the limit.
- Try to turn the mundane into a game. For example, what type of imaginative play can you weave into the morning routine? Maybe while getting dressed in the morning a t-shirt is not simply a t-shirt but maybe a space suit and sneakers, moon boots. And once completely dressed, maybe a reward is a quick ride in the imaginary family spaceship. What other kinds of playful and creative conversations can you have in the car, during mealtimes, and/or before bed? Might seem simple but this type of play not only facilitates creative thinking and problem-solving but it can serve as a distraction for kids resistant to daily routines.
- Schedule some time for creativity or work it into conversations at dinner or the evening routine. This might look like holding a family brainstorming session to find new ways use everyday objects. Think "Part of Your World" scene from the Little Mermaid (kitchen gadgets are great for this). Remember when brainstorming, anything goes. And demonstrations can be really fun, as long as they are safe.
- Embrace the absurd. This could be something as spontaneous as funny faces or noises to a more structured activity like looking for the absurd in the day-to-day, snapping a picture when you find it and then challenging each other to come up with funny captions.
“I had too much fun and laughed too hard,” said no one ever. We all wish we had more play in our lives. While kids may seem predisposed to play and creativity, it’s a muscle that needs to be exercised or we lose it. As parents and loving caregivers it is our role to model, teach, and allow kids to observe us having fun and experiencing joy. If the President of the United States can find time to play, so can you!