Creativity and Fun For Your Little One

It'll take some time before your baby grows up, comes to you and says, "Look mom, I made a tree!" That probably would be the first tangible proof of her creativity. But when you see her first tree, look hard. Her tree leaves might be yellow, the color you chose for her nursery. The sky above the tree might be blue, the color of the doll you placed on top of her crib. Yes, your child was learning all these years when you thought she was just an infant.

Babies from a very early age start noticing things around them. And the way you shape the world around her has a direct affect on increasing the creativity in your child.

When You Start, Start Early
There's a big world outside your baby's small world of 'my mom, my dad and my home'. By encouraging her creative thinking from a young age, you will help her deal with new things, new people and new situations in life in her own way. Creativity can do wonders for your baby:

  • The knack to create something from personal feelings and experiences develops a child's emotional health.
  • It's good for babies' mental growth, too, because they get opportunities for trying out new ideas, and new ways of thinking and problem solving.
  • It's the best form of self-expression. For example, you can learn loads about a child from just one look at her drawing.

From a very early age, babies respond to color, sound and movement. So there's no specific age when parents should start encouraging creativity in babies. It's just that you should adapt creative activities to your baby's age. In fact, your first steps could start from the moment you bring home your baby: by painting her room, decorating her crib, and putting toys around her.

Creativity for Babies - The 'Sense'able Approach Do you sometimes find your baby staring at a bright colored doll or straining to hear a ball bouncing? Does she smile everytime you say "meow" or startle when you clap? Your little one takes in new experiences from all of her sensory organs. So create a multi-sensory environment that she can learn and grow with through every touch, smell, sound and color.

Here's how you can encourage greater creativity:

  1. It's a colorful world - Your baby tracks your movement, she gives more response to objects of attractive colors like red and yellow and she smiles when she sees familiar faces. When your baby opens her eyes to new sights, you can:
    • Take her to colorful places. A nursery full of colorful flowers might be a "bright" idea.
    • Put up posters and pictures on the wall.
    • Give her toys of different shapes
  2. Hear, Hear - Your mother was right: you can talk to your baby even when you are pregnant because she can hear you. To maximize her hearing sense:
    • Talk to her while you are pregnant and especially once she is born. Describe and name the things you give her, like milk, teddy, rattle, etc.
    • Play soft melodious music.
    • Help her understand about feelings; say you are "happy" when you smile.
    • Tell her about activities like "it's time to take bath", "let's play", and so on and so forth.
    • Call your baby by her name.
  3. It smells good, it tastes nice - Sometimes it just takes a whiff of breast milk and babies instinctively begin to suck. They can also tell the sweet and bitter from sour and spicy. Here's how you can introduce your baby to different smells and tastes:
    • Your kitchen is a smell factory. Have your baby near you when you are cooking.
    • Take her out to parks, sea beaches, and mountains, all places with their own unique scents.
    • Describe the foods and drinks that you serve and use words that are associated with flavor and texture ("oranges are sweet and juicy;" "yogurt is a little sour").
  4. Make your move - Even baby movements show creative intent. Each baby has a preferred position to sleep or eat in. Babies try to imitate actions like clapping and waving of hands. Your baby can learn a lot from your actions:
    • Dance with her.
    • Make gestures like clapping, pointing, waving, kissing.
    • Rock your baby.
    • Describe babycare activities, like bathing and changing clothes, as you do it.

Some More Creative Activity Tips
It is not necessary to follow planned curriculums to optimize your infant's creativity. You can stimulate her brain in other ways, too:

  • Buy or create your own texture book or board that includes swatches of different fabrics for infants and toddlers to feel.
  • Play music for her. Babies adore music. It can excite them as well as calm them. Use music to celebrate and dance.
  • Discover new toys. Sturdy boxes, smooth tins, plastic cups, wooden spoons, sock puppets, blanket peek-a-boos, paper towel tubes … the list goes on. Kids can make a fun toy out of anything so let them (as long as there are no sharp or jagged edges and the item doesn't pose a choking hazard).