Last Updated May 28th, 2019

6 Ways To Encourage Your Children’s Creativity Over The Summer

6 Ways To Encourage Your Children's Creativity Over The Summer

Everyone admires a child’s creativity. It’s amazing seeing what they come up with, especially when they’re young and utterly uninhibited about expressing themselves. How can you encourage your children’s creativity over the summer?

Encouraging your children’s creativity is a great way to pull them away from electronic screens. These can be useful in coming up with ideas or learning a new skill, however. My kids love looking up how-to videos on things they want to learn to do, for example.

The other key is to have plenty of supplies waiting for them, of whichever sort your kids prefer. We have a craft cabinet which is full of paints, different types of paper, pens, crayons, crafting foam, and much more. They are also encouraged to use age appropriate tools.

1. Encourage them to read.

child reading

Reading is a great way to encourage the imagination, whether you’re helping your child learn to read or they’ve long since mastered it. Let your child pick the books he or she enjoys for the summer – time enough for required reading during the school year.

Take advantage of any reading programs in your area that may encourage your child. Many local libraries have summer reading programs. Barnes & Noble usually has a program over the summer where children in grades 1-6 can earn a free book by reading 8 books and writing the titles in a reading journal. The free book titles are listed on the reading journal.

Don’t push your child to read something they don’t want to over the summer, even if it means they read very little or at all. Do keep looking for what they want to read – even comic books have value as reading material.

2. Encourage them to make things.

kids painting

There are so many ways your children can use their imaginations while making things, and so many different toys that make it possible, from the long-popular Legos and K’Nex to programs such as Minecraft. You don’t want your kids to overdo it on the computer all summer, of course, but Minecraft and similar programs offer a great deal of flexibility and much less mess than toys which can be left on the floor.

Don’t forget traditional tools and materials as well. Once your kids are ready, they can learn to use a drill, screwdrivers, hammers, saws, and other such tools to make more challenging things.

For younger kids, you can check with your local hardware store, such as Home Depot, to see if they have any kids’ workshops available. Some do, some don’t. These are mostly geared toward younger children and are a great way for kids to learn some of the basics.

Arts and crafts are a good choice as well. You can get cheap crafting supplies at most dollar stores. Older kids and teens may want better quality supplies, of course, but younger kids can be so hard on them that cheaper markers and such can make a lot of sense.

3. Encourage them in music.

child guitar

Learning to play a musical instrument is good for kids in many ways. Let them choose the instrument they’d like to learn if at all possible – they will enjoy the lessons more this way.

Even if they don’t want to learn an instrument, you can encourage their enjoyment by having music play during the day. Turn on something they’ll enjoy – they might sing or dance along.

We keep a variety of musical instruments available. We have the inevitable recorders they learned to play at school, of course. But they can also play on a keyboard or a small harp.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to let kids make music. Even if they don’t want to sing, you can teach them how to blow across the top of a bottle to make sound.

If your kids are really into music, you may want to encourage them to learn about electronic music production. This could be a great creative outlet for them.

4. Encourage them to play outside.

sandbox

It may be hot outside in the summer, but your kids can play outdoors anyhow, just as you probably did. Have cold drinks and treats available so they can cool down as needed, but get them outside. Encourage them to catch bugs (at least the non-stinging sort), have water fights, climb trees and play with friends. Let them roam the neighborhood as they get old enough.

Bikes are a great way to get your kids out and exploring. My son love to go out riding in the wash near our house. I usually have him go with a friend, as there’s poor phone reception in that area. Usually, they’re so tired at then end that they text for a ride home, even though it’s less than a half mile back.

It is, admittedly, hard to get kids out when it’s miserably hot outside. You probably don’t want to leave the nice, cool house either. Just remember that playing outside in the evening is perfectly reasonable – plus you don’t have to worry about sunburn.

There are also lots of fun summer night activities you can do as a family. Get everyone out and have fun together!

5. Don’t overschedule them.

child dress mask

Don’t overschedule your children’s summer days. Give them time to just be themselves. Classes of various sorts can be good for your kids, but more important is that they have time to do whatever they want.

Free time is truly one of the best ways to encourage your children’s creativity, so long as you don’t let them sit in front of a screen the whole time. Let them be bored. Boredom is good. Kids who are bored are kids who will come up with something interesting to do.

This can be one of the more difficult things to avoid, as kids who are in activities are busy kids, and that means a nice break for parents. Also, many kids want to take fun classes over the summer, to learn things that are of interest to them.

You don’t have to deny them that. Just make sure that your children have a significant amount of time over the summer with nothing on their schedule. That downtime is healthy.

My personal suggestion for summer classes for kids includes swimming lessons. Even if they don’t have regular access to a pool outside of class, it’s a good idea. You never know when a friend will have a pool or you’ll have some other opportunity as a family to go swimming. It’s more fun when everyone knows how.

6. Spend time together as a family.

family climbing

You don’t have to do anything big, but do things as a family. Have game nights. Watch a movie together. Have a picnic. Go camping. Go on vacation. Have a water balloon fight. Read. Talk about things you’ve done and dreams you have. Big or little, do things together as a family.

You can also take on a family project for the summer. Work on a garden. Build a fort. Make it fun for everyone.

Volunteering over the summer can also be good. You don’t have to sign up for anything formal if you don’t want to – cleaning up the trash in a local park is always an option. But you can also see if any local retirement homes need volunteers, or animal rescues, or whatever you want to do. Get together and do something to make the world just a bit better.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated April 7th, 2017

Are You Encouraging Your Daughters To Be Adventurous?

I came across an interested TED Talk the other day, about how to raise brave girls. The solution is pretty obvious – encourage adventure.

There are a lot of good points, especially about how we tend to make it harder for girls to be adventurous. Think about how often you caution your daughter or hear other parents caution their girls about how they’re playing. Then consider these quotes from the TED Talk.

So how do we become brave? Well, here’s the good news. Bravery is learned, and like anything learned, it just needs to be practiced. So first, we have to take a deep breath and encourage our girls to skateboard, climb trees and clamber around on that playground fire pole.

Second, we have to stop cautioning our girls willy-nilly. So notice next time you say, “Watch out, you’re going to get hurt,” or, “Don’t do that, it’s dangerous.” And remember that often what you’re really telling her is that she shouldn’t be pushing herself, that she’s really not good enough, that she should be afraid.

Third, we women have to start practicing bravery, too. We cannot teach our girls until we teach ourselves. So here’s another thing: fear and exhilaration feel very similar — the shaky hands, the heightened heart rate, the nervous tension, and I’m betting that for many of you the last time you thought you were scared out of your wits, you may have been feeling mostly exhilaration, and now you’ve missed an opportunity. So practice.

The best way to get your daughters to be more adventurous is to take them on adventures. My kids all love climbing rocks, for example. So far they don’t go on very challenging climbs, but they do love the kind of rocks they can just scramble up. Joshua Tree has some favorite areas for them to climb around. They reach some pretty good heights, sometimes to where they have to be told how to get down.

Each of my kids has gone through a time where they were scared to climb up the rocks. That includes my son – he’s the cautious type by nature, but has learned to enjoy a bit of rock climbing.

My youngest daughter finally got more comfortable climbing around on our most recent trip. She was so proud when she finally climbed up what her siblings regarded as a pretty simple rock. To her, it was a scary, steep slope.

This isn’t to say appropriate caution isn’t warranted. We went hiking recently at Whitewater Preserve, and the kids wanted to go wading in the river. The river is neither wide nor deep as these things go, but my husband mad sure the kids all knew to consider how they played in it, because it doesn’t take deep water to sweep you off your feet. Once they each had a feel for it, they played as suited them. It’s a very rocky river, so getting knocked over could be quite painful or even result in a serious injury.

This was our first visit there, and the general consensus was that next time, they’ll wear clothes that are better for getting soaking wet in.

The other great thing about raising more adventurous kids is that they’ll willingly leave the electronics behind for an outdoor adventure. That’s good for everyone.

Brave kids turn into brave adults who can follow their dreams. That’s something most parents want for their sons and their daughters.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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