5 Activities to Get Kids" Creativity Flowing

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Create! - Week 6

Kids see the world differently from adults. They are naturally creative--building, drawing and manipulating the world into their own vision. That's why they love to do art projects, but there's so more to creativity for kids than simply arts and crafts. Left to their own devices it is amazing what kids can create. However, sometimes kids need a little nudge to get their creative juices flowing. To help your kids tap into their inner artists, encourage them to try these 5 creative activities for kids.

First Activity: Show Off

This is Week 6 in a slideshow series of kids' activities for summer weekdays. Each slideshow has 5 ideas. To start at Week 1, click here.

Put on a Performance

My kids are born performers, and they have always loved to "put on a show"  -- whether it's an air guitar/lip sync performance or a puppet extravaganza.

Puppets have many benefits, especially for elementary- and preschool-age kids. They are good for one child alone or many. They spark the imagination, but they can also help kids put some structure and action to their fantasies. Puppets let shy kids perform, perhaps, to an audience of one (themselves).

Plus kids can make puppets, so it's an art project first, a performance next.

But a performance can be almost anything: a talent show, a video project, a musical recital, a reading or a dramatic production. So encourage your kids to show off their creative talents.

Next:Music to Your Ears

Make Music

While making music may seem similar to the previous idea of putting on a show, they are different. Kids don't have to perform music for others to keep themselves busy and engaged; mastering it for themselves is often all they need.

I also know on the surface music doesn't exactly sound like the quite activity for a work-at-home mom's family. Really do you want someone banging a drum while you're on the phone?

But the right musical toys when kids are young as well as some musical instruction as they get older can turn music into an engrossing activity rather than just background noise.

In our house, music lessons and musical toys over the years have meant my kids can create their own music at will. I have spent a lot of money on music lessons but not everyone is going to want to make this kind of investment. So trying out a few musical toys is a good way to gauge your family's interest in music.

Next: Inspired Authors

Write a Story

Reading stories is one of my favorite summer activities for kids, but let's take it another step further and get kids writing stories with these 8 writing activities for kids. Yes, writing can be tough for preschoolers and budding readers, but the words on paper arejust a tiny part of it. This activity is about storytelling--actually story-creating.

Just like thewordless books that entertain kids of all reading levels, storytelling takes many forms besides the written one.

Kids can use a recording device to capture their story, honing their storytelling skills by finding the right words then rerecording. This will help them learn to edit their writing later in life. Stories can also be pictorial. My youngest learned to work the MS Paint program and use clip art long before she was an effective writer. She would line up a series of pictures to illustrate her oral story.

And of course, children school age and up can actually write stories on paper or a computer. If kids need a little help getting started, you can give them a story writing prompt (Once upon a time, there was a one-eyed pirate who...."). Or, encourage them to journal about their summer. It makes that back-to-school "What I Did During Summer Vacation" essay so much easier!

Next: Mother Nature

Nature inspires creativity in a way that human-made stuff just can't. One of my kids. favorite outdoor activities is to build a "fairy house" out of twigs, moss, rocks, etc. My son would rebrand his a miniature "Hobbit House" but you get the idea.

Kids love to make collections from nature, searching out pretty rocks, interestingly shaped sticks, unusual leaves and the like. With such collections kids not only have the fun of collecting items but of cataloging, categorizing and even photographing them.

Setting aside a plot in the yard for kids to design their own little garden space can be a very creative and satisfying experience as kids see their work bloom and grow and change a little every day.

And then of course, there of hundreds of nature craft projects kids can do.

Next:  Building

Building toys inspire the imagination, and that's why kids love them. They can play with them for hours, and that's why parents love them. Once a builder, always a builder. Most kids don't completely outgrow their Lego, erector and  train sets. However, the way they use them may change. My son eventually graduated from simply building with Lego to making stop action movies with them.  My daughter pulls together trains, Lego pieces, kitchenwares, games and make Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions that can take over the whole living room.

And of course there's all kind of other creative building that kids can do--such a constructing a pillow fort, making a town from cereal boxes or working on a model.

Next Up: You may have noticed that none of this week's "creative" Ideas were art projects. That is because next week I have 5 non-messy art projects for kids.

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