We all want the best for our kids, especially when it comes to their mental and emotional development. Creative thinking is one of the primary ways we help our children develop various skills, from communication and social interaction to problem-solving.
Unfortunately, kids don’t particularly enjoy learning. However, they do love playing games, especially if the whole family decides to join in. By using toys and exciting activities, you can encourage your children to improve their mental and creative abilities while developing other skills simultaneously.
Below, we’ve listed a few different ways you can use games and toys to help spark your kids’ creativity and have fun doing it.
Use Board Games
Most of us love to play board games, and dozens of titles can spark kids’ creativity. Pictionary can help develop your children’s artistic abilities, while Mouse Trap can boost their problem-solving and inventive skills.
Candy Land is an excellent choice if you’ve got younger kids or toddlers since no reading is required. For slightly older children, you can play Guess Who. Alternatively, rope your teens into a few rounds of Clue to see who makes the best detective.
Another great option is Dungeons and Dragons. Unfortunately, the game is often stereotyped as something only for basement-dwelling adults; nothing could be further from the truth.
It allows kids to become heroes and play out incredible adventures, and there are even stories and campaigns specifically designed for children. Grab your DND dice and spend a few hours bonding with the little ones as you hunt down mythical monsters and delicious candy treasures.
Finally, you have the Game of Life. Although gameplay can be hilarious, you need to deal with real issues like debt, careers, families, and salaries. If you want to get your older kids thinking and giggling at the same time, this is a fantastic board game to play. There’s also a junior version.
Creative Mobile Apps
Most kids own a mobile phone by the time they hit age seven. This isn’t always a good thing, but you could improve what your children do while they’re glued to those little screens. For example, install fun mobile games and apps that boost creative and logical thinking.
Minecraft is one popular option. Although the standard desktop version can get a little pricey, the mobile app is the cheapest way to enjoy the game. Your kids can spend hours mining, crafting tools, and learning how to build majestic maps and structures.
Terraria is another good option, but it requires a lot more creative thinking and is better for slightly older kids. There’s also SimCity; although the application isn’t quite as fleshed out as the desktop version, it’s still fun and challenging.
Our favorite was Scribblenauts. It’s an enjoyable puzzle game that will have your children thinking up unusual solutions for various problems, challenges, and obstacles as they help the two adventurers on their way. From cleaning pigs and rescuing kittens to subduing man-eating plans, it’s a hoot from start to finish.
Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean being artistic, or so says parent educator Julie King. In fact, playtime should include games that spark your kids’ imagination in various ways, including the use of building and engineering toys.
One of the best options is Lego, which isn’t all that surprising. It’s one of the most well-known building toys in existence, and many parents will know the pain of stepping on one of these sharp plastic torture devices.
The Marble Run Super Set is another fantastic option. Using the various building blocks, your kids can create mazes and courses for their marbles, but the set pieces may feel somewhat restrictive for more inventive little ones.
Who says you need an out-of-the-box game to build something? There are some fantastic marble courses, and they’re made out of just about everything. From popsicle sticks and paper to pool noodles and toilet rolls, the sky’s the limit. Some determined folks have even created ones that run through their homes and across multiple stories.
Improve and Storytelling
Improvisation games are a great way to get your kids focused and having a lot of fun. With amazing brain-boosting effects, they encourage children to be more creative and think out of the box. There’s a massive variety to choose from, so you can play inside, outside, or just by sitting in the living room.
Have you ever noticed how your kids love changing stories so that they have ‘better’ endings? Encourage this habit by making it an activity. Instead of finishing a story, try to work on an ending together. You could also help them make up a tale of their very own.
One Word Stories are lots of fun, and they can get hilarious if the family is feeling a little silly. You can choose to play out loud or use a piece of paper to hide earlier words so that the tale turns out completely random. Just have fun with it.
Finally, there’s pretend play, and it’s a vital activity for kids. It doesn’t just boost creativity but improves language, social, emotional, and thinking skills. The best part is that you don’t even really need any tools or equipment. Everything, from plastic crates to old blankets, can be used as props.
Whether the kids choose to dress up or stick to the basic tried-and-true ‘Floor is Lava’ routine, encourage them to have fun with their imagination. It’s essential to help build your child’s developmental skills.
The Final Word is Fun
The most important thing to remember is to have fun. No matter how great a game is, if you don’t enjoy playing together, it’ll quickly become a boring chore, and the kids will lose interest. If they see it as a way to bond with friends or family, they’ll be a lot more motivated to have some fun with you.
Dig out a few board games or get new ones that everyone can enjoy together. If your kids love to spend time on their mobile devices, use it to your advantage and install applications that encourage them to think while having a good time.
Don’t be afraid to get inventive. Use paper, toilet rolls, and building blocks to create amazing inventions, or encourage your brave superhero to save the great Sir Dog from the Evil Dr. Cat.
If you really want to use games to improve your children’s creative thinking abilities, your options are endless. Just remember this: fun is fundamental.