Whether it’s summer break, just a day off of school in the middle of February or a rainy day, some low-key fun that taps into your child’s creative brain is always a great idea. Since the logical, linear part of your child’s brain gets a workout in the classroom, breaks from school are an ideal time to fully engage your child’s creative right brain that can otherwise get overlooked in the quest to acquire language and math skills.
Here’s why it’s important to tap into your child’s creative brain, and some activities that can help you do so.
Why it’s important to engage your child’s creative brain
It’s wise to encourage whole brain development. Since the left brain is typically the focus at school, you can provide opportunities for your child to activate their right brain at home or on school breaks. Arts and creative activities are very important to your child’s cognitive and emotional development.
When both hemispheres of the brain are strong, they support each other better. When your child acquires skills through creation, these skills boost their ability for left-brain activities such as traditional academic subjects as well as build confidence and self-esteem.
Activities that Boost Your Child’s Creative Brain
Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist.” While there are many creative kits to purchase at hobby stores, projects do not have to break your budget. Paint rocks you find in the backyard, glue popsicle sticks together to make a house, or make a cardboard loom for weaving. You can find plenty of low-budget crafts on Pinterest. And join the fun with your child. It’s a great opportunity for bonding. You can also create with chalk, paint, clay, and kinetic sand.
Create a sensory box with everyday household and kitchen items that have different shapes, sizes, and textures. Fill a bowl with small treasures, empty a bag of rice over them, and let your child sift through to find the bounty! As they engage their senses, they will engage their right brain.
Cook and bake
The kitchen is full of ways to tantalize the senses which help engage the creative side of the brain. Bake and decorate sugar cookies or a cake. Help your child plan and create a meal for the family. As they mix, cut, and prepare, they will explore different textures and smells that activate the right brain.
Any type of play including board games, make believe, puzzles, and more help boost your child’s right brain. Be sure to put down the distractions – including your cell phone – to give your child undivided attention as you play together.
While language is largely housed in the left brain, the prose and rhythm of poetry involve the creativity of the right brain. You can start by reading some books of poetry together. Some popular examples include:
- Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, Runny Babbit, or Falling Up by Shel Silverstein
- Mother Goose or the Old Nursery Rhymes illustrated by Kate Greenaway
- Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
- The Random House Book of Poetry for Children by Jack Prelutsky
- Poems to Learn by Heart by Caroline Kennedy
Poetry takes many forms. You may also have your child create some poems on their own. Some examples include: Write an About Me poem, try an Acrostic Poem (one word topic down the left-hand side of the page and write statements about the topic starting each line with the letters that spell the poem), or give your child suggested beginnings, such as:
I used to be_______, but now I’m ________
I am _________, I am not __________
I like __________, I don’t like___________
Your child might like to take music lessons to learn to play an instrument, but there are a lot of ways to incorporate music into fun activities without formal instruction.
For example, you can help your child make his or her own homemade instrument! There are many ways to get creative with items around the house—such as a tin can drum, straw windpipes, a shoebox guitar, shakers with beans or rice, or tubular bells.
Or, turn up the music and dance! Kids love to move and jump around. Join in with them. Also, consider going to a concert in the park together, or play music in the backyard while you play some family ball games.
These ideas are just to get you started! Ask your child for their ideas on how they would like to create and play.