One of the best ways to nurture your child's creativity is involving yourself in her fantasy on a consistent basis. Happily, some of the most creative activities are the simplest. Here are some fun, old-fashioned games that your family can play together.
1. Make silly soup. Let your child choose "ingredients" from all over the house. Anything kid-friendly that will fit in a giant pot is fair game. Who should you invite to the banquet? Grandma? Marcel the stuffed pig? Let your child decide. An added bonus: Using ordinary objects in unusual ways encourages your child to think more openly about the world he lives in.
2. Go on a wacky walk. See your neighborhood with new eyes. Stroll down your street and ask open-ended questions: "What do you think that doggie is looking for?" And encourage your child to point things out to you. At half your size, small children have a different perspective. Perhaps the most wonderful aspect is that everything is fresh, new, and exciting to them.
3. Strike up the band. Get out pots, pans, kazoos, and spoons. Put on a wide variety of music and play along as you move according to your and your child's fancy. Show your openness to music and dance without any judgment on style or substance.
4. Tell tall tales. Change the endings to your child's favorite stories and poems. "There was an old lady who lived in a hat," or "Goldilocks and the three chickens." You'll encourage your child's language development and help her learn how to tell stories in her own way.
5. Cloud watch. The puffy ones look like sheep. That skinny one looks like a pencil. Lie on your backs together and ask your child what he sees. Daydreaming about the endless canvas of sky shows your child that even the most ordinary things are open to unusual interpretation.
6. Have a silly contest. Challenge your child to draw the strangest picture of a cat ever, or to create the wackiest dance in the world. These kinds of activities not only encourage creativity, but they also demonstrate that striving for perfection isn't necessarily a desirable goal.
7. Play dress-up. Can't believe you ever wore that multicolored muumuu? Dig it out of the closet, put it on, be the rainbow queen, and let your children join you as royalty in the crazy court. When you are willing to let your own guard down, children see that imagination is valued around your house -- and that you're a highly imaginative person yourself.