Guest post by Aimee Claire
Learning how to make positive choices and how to express themselves effectively are two of the most important assets that all children need to develop as they grow. Especially during their earliest years, children need the freedom to explore their creativity. Fostering the creative process not only helps a child to learn how to make decisions for themselves and how to commit to whatever activity they happen to be engaged in, but also how to deal with positive and negative feelings, as well as encouraging their mental development.
Encouraging a child’s creativity may be achieved in several different ways. Ultimately, the greatest influence should be placed on the actual process of creating rather than on the finished product, whether the activity is artistic, musical, craft-related or simply creative play. Fostering an environment that encourages creativity begins with shaping and decorating a room specifically for that purpose; it may be a redecorated spare room or a small corner of a bedroom, kitchen or other room in the house that is decorated and organized specifically for crafting and creating.
Designing a creative space for toddlers
The key to creating a suitable space for children of any age to play and craft in is to keep it well-organized. While children of all ages benefit from having a creative space, toddlers in particular need this kind of play and creativity for proper development, and designing a space with their needs and safety in mind is very important.
Furniture and storage included in the space should be functional, durable and safe for the littlest ones. A good-sized table should be central to a creative space and a low table is obviously necessary for small children. Chairs for the table are one option but floor cushions may be even better for the smaller children. Bookshelves, properly anchored to the wall, floating shelves, fabrics bins, storage ottomans, and cloth bags are ideal storage choices, as they are easy to access and generally safe for all ages.
A staple of creative play is dramatic play. A long mirror and a chest filled with old clothing and accessories can lead to hours of play-acting and pretend. Items for playing house are appropriate here as well, such as plastic dishes and play food.
Workspace and counter space are very important and should be sectioned off into specialized areas. A section for painting and drawing, for assembling puzzles or blocks, or for crafting are some examples, and each specialized space can have storage and display customized accordingly.
An individual space that grows with them
As children age, their needs and interests will change either slightly or sometimes quite dramatically. Many of the same storage options may remain as the kids grow, while others such as the tables and dress-up areas may be altered. A small table may be exchanged for a larger desk or utility table, while the dress-up area may become a reading nook or a home for a painting easel or music stand.
Finally, creating a degree of privacy for the space is important, too. Children need the opportunity to learn how to play and create and to feel relaxed and comfortable doing so. Isolation is not good, however. Consider colourful curtains or all types of shutters as possible room dividers or privacy screens for the creative space.