Children are constantly learning, growing and creating. Especially young children, who are easily influenced by any and everything around them. In today’s technology-driven day and age, children of all ages are cooped up inside, often, playing video games, obsessing over social media and filling their brains with reality television and unrealistic expectations. Therefore you should introduce nature and creativity into a child’s life as soon as possible, so they can learn and hone the skill over time.
Many people believe creativity is solely something you are either born with or without, however, creativity is more of a learned skill, like riding a bike or playing football. While all children are different, and some may be more creative than others, you can help your child develop this core skill. A creative mind is flexible, more adaptable to new surroundings and change, and also better at problem solving. This doesn’t mean you have to throw your kids into piano lessons or art classes to get their creative juices flowing. In fact, look no further than your own backyard, where imaginations run wild and creativity is born. Read on for seven ways playing outside can spark creativity in children.
Kids Feel Free and Happy
Research proves that children who spend 5-10 hours a week outside have a stronger sense of purpose and self-fulfillment than those who do not, which results in happiness. By regularly playing outside, children will also develop a deeper appreciation for nature and its beauty, which will enhance their interest in the world around them. This interest and free-thinking will give them a sense of freedom as they study, observe and theorize.
Stimulate Their Senses
This is important for all children, but especially young ones. There’s nothing like exposure to new sights, sounds and other elements to spike a child’s curiosity, and being outside is a whole world of new sounds, textures, scents and more. This will help your children’s emotional, intellectual, physical and social development, and if you develop their inquisitive minds, children will learn to think and question what’s around them all of the time.
Inspire Your Children
Everyone can use a good dose of inspiration – even children. You know what it’s like to feel bored or stagnant until something comes along that inspires you to try something new or explore unchartered territory. The same goes for children. Nature naturally helps reduce stress, between the fresh air and Vitamin D, but also time abundance. While in the outdoors, the pressure of time or lack of time disappears, and you will instead feel as though time is expanding. A relaxed mind is a creative mind.
Teach Children to Think Outside the Box
Take away iPhones, iPads, TV and other technology, and kids are forced to think outside of the box. What can they do to occupy their time and entertain themselves? Well, they will have to figure it out. Be an advocate for open-ended play so they learn to think and build creativity on their own with what they have around them.
Imaginations Will Soar
You may feel pressure to overly structure your child’s life by putting them in music, swimming and dance lessons, but too much structure may limit them more than you realize. If you take your kids to the park, let them wander off and explore, where you can see them of course. They will not only discover the beauty of nature, but they will begin to make their own connections, become curious at the sight of a bird nest, and begin to imagine a whole new world of things.
They Will Learn How to Make Decisions
In a structured setting, you’re usually told what to do, but in a free play outdoor setting, children are given the option to make decisions on what it is that they do. Will they play hopscotch, fly a kite or climb a tree? Let your children make decisions when appropriate, so they will develop their cognitive skills. This will also give them a chance to use their imaginations and come up with their own games to play. Whatever it is, let them decide.
Kids Learn From One Another
Encourage your children play with other children outside so they will begin to learn from one another. Together they can build forts, play hide and seek and make up other games based on their favorite toys or TV shows – all of which require creativity. This will also teach them to collaborate with others, a powerful life skill.
In a world where outdoor play is rapidly decreasing due to structured activities, technology overload, academically focused schools and other factors, it’s important that you promote outdoor play, so your children will learn to think on their own and develop a creative mindset that will lead to success. Nature has a profound impact on your brain, and with the proper exposure, playing outside will stimulate and inspire your kids.
They will also learn to think outside of the box, learn from one another, develop decision-making skills, become curious about the world around them, and most importantly, they will be free and happy. So next time you go to schedule another planned activity for your child, think about taking them to the park, on a hike or suggest they play outside with their friends. You’ll open a whole world of possibilities that will positively impact your child and their young influential mind.