Creativity isn’t just for artists — everyone can be creative. Creativity is usually associated with art forms such as visual art, dance and songwriting, among others. Individuals are said to be creative when they can express themselves in a unique way and come up with innovative solutions to problems. They are also said to be imaginative, having the ability to see beyond what is already there.
When you allow children to practice self-expression and use their imagination to discover and analyze ways to solve problems, you help them develop their creativity.
Why is music important for creativity?
According to child development professionals, one of the ways to foster creativity in children is through musical activities. The development of the ability to hear and recognize music in children occurs in harmony with that of other bodily functions, such as motor skills and cognitive learning.
Being exposed to music is a factor that aids in the development of children’s brains, particularly the areas involved in language acquisition, speech, spatial reasoning, memory and attention, among other skills.
Children get more from music when they actively participate in it; for example, when they dance to the beat or explore the different sounds made by the keys of a piano. Experts agree that through music-filled activities such as singing, dancing and playing an instrument, children can expand their intellectual horizons, develop coordination and learn psychosocial skills. This is why it’s important to provide children with a stimulating musical environment and allow them to play as early as possible.
Tips for parents
Playtime provides parents with a great opportunity to encourage creativity in their kids. Activities that involve making different types of sounds using different objects (and body parts), singing, whistling, coming up with their own songs and moving along to music are all beneficial for developing children. Follow these tips for a truly music-rich playtime.
- Blend movement with singing nursery rhymes and singing games.
Singing games, such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Farmer in the Dell” and “I’m a Little Teapot,” are activities that are based on a song verse. The verses have actions or certain movements associated with them. Aside from singing games, you can teach your children hand-clapping songs, counting-out rhymes, jump rope songs, chants and folk songs. Give your kid space to come up with their own rhymes and movements, as this freedom of expression encourages creativity.
- Let your kids improvise.
Improvisation also encourages musical creativity and originality. Let them come up with their own activity songs, such as a bathtime song or a bedtime ditty. They can even compose a short tune for just about anything — their favorite stuffed toy, grandma and grandpa, the family cat. With improvisation, play and participation are more important than performance — the idea is to allow children to explore, imagine and develop their sense of confidence and creativity.
- Make music with different objects.
Gather some kid-safe items you can find at home to help your child discover the world of music and musical instruments. You can fashion different musical instruments from wooden spoons, boxes, bells, cups — basically anything that produces a sound has the potential to be an instrument. Here are a few other examples: a piece of an elastic band stretched out across a small box, upside-down bowls of different sizes, a tumbler with some coins in it, a squeeze toy.
- Encourage your child to produce different sounds.
Experiment with varying rhythms and rhythmic patterns using these objects and instruments. “Can you play it slowly (or faster)?” Using these homemade instruments, you can even form your own family band, and let your child be the conductor!
We hope these tips help you unlock your child’s creativity through music-filled play sessions. Have fun with your little one!