Children are little creative geniuses – what better way to fire up their imagination and stimulate role play than with LEGO® DUPLO®. Perfectly sized for small hands, the colourful, easy-to-build sets will help your little one master basic construction skills by building and re-building to develop fine motor skills while bringing their ideas to life.
It might seem chaotic – and almost always messy – but being creative isn’t just about finger painting, or hiding under the table pretending to be in a spaceship on the way to Mars. It’s about your little one being able to think in unusual ways, solve problems and ultimately develop the skills they need to thrive in life.
By the time they are three, your child’s brain has formed an incredible 1000 trillion connections between neurons, which is why it’s so important for your pre-schooler to embrace curiosity and their natural sense of wonder. Creative play stimulates this amazing fizzing brain, and with a little help from you they will blossom – whether they want to be an artist or an astronaut.
Here’s just a few ways you can spark creativity in your child’s everyday life:
Encourage simple creative conversations
There’s nobody your child learns more from at this age than you – their parent. Encourage spontaneous creative conversations as part of day-to-day life, and imaginative thinking will come more naturally to them. This can be as easy as playing word association games on the way to the shops, making up a simple story together before bed or using questions as prompts like “Where would you go if you were a bird?”
Let them lead the way
Every once in a while, set aside some time to let your child “take control”. This could be as simple as going to the park for half an hour and walking at their pace. Follow them as they explore the world; ask about what they can see or imagine. And if you do end up spending your afternoon chasing imaginary dragons or pretending to eat mud pies, all the better!
Talk about your favourite part of the day
Introduce a simple and quick bedtime ritual which encourages you both to talk about positive experiences in your day. As you are putting them to bed, share your favourite part of the day first and then ask your child to share their best bit. Doing this lets them reflect on (and helps you understand) what they enjoy doing from a young age.
Don’t over plan playtime
Play doesn’t need to be rigorously planned, and in fact, freedom to play in an unstructured way is vital for every pre-schooler’s development. Give your child a box of bricks and watch what they build, rather than suggesting what they create. Afterwards, ask them to talk about what it is and what it can do; a fearsome dragon – what does he eat? Try and be specific with your praise to make it feel more genuine, highlighting details such as the shape or the colours.
Encourage them to make creative mistakes
Young children are really just mini scientists experimenting all the time. Sometimes what they create may look a bit unusual, but they may have learned a new way to mix two colours together, or felt how a new brush moved on the page. Encouraging their creative endeavours helps build their confidence. The most important thing is that your child has fun; play is a wonderfully effective way to learn.
Don’t worry about the mess (too much)
A little messiness can be a good thing once in a while. Instead of standing guard worrying about the carpet, set aside space and time (and even protective plastic sheeting) so that your child can be free to get messy to their heart’s content. Feeling safe to try whatever comes into their head will help your little artist feel more confident in their creative abilities. And if you’re really lucky, you might be able to convince them that tidying up is a fun game too.
What’s the messiest, most creative thing you’ve done with your pre-schooler? Whether you let them do your make-up, make mud-pies in the garden or build a den from cardboard boxes, share your pictures with us via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag LEGO DUPLO and use #toddlertruth to get involved!