Nurturing The Creative Spirit

One of the main challenges parents, guardians and teachers face is how to harness and develop a child’s creativity. Caring for a child isn’t just about providing for their well being, it’s also about growing their creative spirit – the link that connects them to the outer world and to themselves. The environment a child grows up in has a profound impact on their level of creativity and the confidence they feel to express it.

As a designer, I am a firm believer in nurturing the creative spirit. Whether your child dreams of becoming an accountant or an artist, a banker or a bandleader, the ability to be creative will enhance every aspect of that child’s life. As a parent or guardian, it is your job to ensure your child has access to the tools that encourage creativity. We all know it comes naturally to them – imagination is something they are born with – but sometimes it gets stifled with over stimulation; too many video games, too much TV, too many scheduled activities, too much homework. There needs to be some time for unstructured play and a place where this activity can take place. If the environment is right, creativity will grow and flourish.

Why not start by carving out a creative corner in the family room, rec room or, ideally, a section of their bedroom? If space allows, have two or three creative areas in the house, spaces where everyone can let imagination rule. Children generally mimic the grownups around them – what a great excuse to include some playtime into your day. It’s a win-win.

Something as simple as an open shelving unit full of baskets offers all kinds of potential. If music is the art of choice, be sure there is access to the instruments, music books, and a comfy listening area. If you’re the DIY, full of energy and enthusiasm kind of parent we all aspire to be then go all out and build the storybook room of their dreams.

As you design their space, be sure to include them in the process. Of course, the age of the child will determine how much influence is reasonable. Part of the reward for this is allowing them to witness the project from concept to completion. It’s quite amazing to watch a thought become an idea, the idea woven into a design concept, working through the logistics, doing the physical work and then – voila – the reward of the end result! Watching an idea become reality is quite powerful and satisfying.

As always, love your space – and help them love theirs!

This room is designed for a 15-year-old girl, a budding musician and fashionista who is totally in touch with her creative side. She loves drama; listening to, playing and creating music; wants to travel and experience big cities and other cultures. Her creativity comes through in most things she does – her clothing, her poetry, her music. Therefore, her room is a reflection of who she is.  A place to “be” – away from the noise of the world, a place to tap into the creative side.

At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want for our children? A place where they feel safe, loved and able to be who they are meant to be.