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How to Raise Creative Kids (And Why It’s Important)

Da Antipina/Shutterstock

This post was written in partnership with PEBBLES Cereal.

It might not seem like a high priority for kids without obviously artistic aspirations, but that doesn’t mean that nurturing creativity isn’t an important task for any parent. For one, it’s a skill that’s universally useful — just ask an engineer, secretary, or teacher if they’ve ever had to find a novel solution to a difficult problem. For that matter, ask a parent. And even if it didn’t have any real-world relevance, creativity is inherently good for kids.

It’s fun, first of all. A big reason that crayons, building blocks, and the like have been childhood staples for generations is simply that kids like playing with them. It’s also a form of exploration that affords a level of independence that kids crave. And while many of the benefits of creativity are in the act itself, any parent who’s ever been shown something their kid made in art class knows the intense pride creative acts can inspire.

You could just give your kid some markers and paper and call it a day, but you don’t have to stop there. There’s a lot more you can do to ensure your little one enjoys all of the benefits that a creative childhood has to offer.

Dedicate space in your home to creative endeavors.

It might be a music room with kid-friendly instruments or just a corner of their bedroom that’s well-stocked with art supplies, but making sure that your little one has easy access to creative tools is essential. And if you can define the space in their mind as one where creativity happens, they’ll naturally start creating whenever they’re there.

Embrace new ways of creating.

While crayons aren’t going anywhere, kids growing up in the 21st century also have access to a ton of powerful creative tools. Exposing your kid to digital illustration, video editing, and music-making software opens up new worlds of possibility for them. There are tons of free online resources kids can access, and you also have a great chance to learn alongside them. The bottom line is that while painting and music remain as vibrant as ever, technology has made it easy to indulge in new forms of creative expression, from hip-hop beats to dunk videos.

Yabba Dabba Dunk with PEBBLES

Trick shot videos are founded on the premise that the more complicated, unexpected, and impressive way a ball gets from point A to point B, the better. In other words, the more creative, the better.

PEBBLES Cereal, on a mission to spark as many imaginations and creations as possible, is calling on kids to make the wildest trick shot or dunk video they can think of. And if they’re feeling extra creative, they can even turn a PEBBLES box into their own mini basketball hoop, or craft a hoop from something else around the house. Kids whose creations rise to the top can win prizes like gift cards for basketball gear, a year’s supply of PEBBLES, and even a chance to see their video featured on the Jumbotron at a pro game. You can join in at createwithpebbles.com.

Turn your house into a gallery.

You can nurture the pride kids take in their work — and encourage them to keep creating — by hanging their artwork up around the house. It can be as simple as taping it to the wall, but you could also go for photos of their work on a digital frame or a string-and-clothespins setup that makes it easy to display their ever-expanding oeuvre.

Visit creatively inspiring places.

From art museums to symphonies to community theaters, part of encouraging kids’ creativity is exposing them to creative people at work. Do some research and find out what’s on offer in your area, and if you find yourself having exhausted everything local there are always virtual art offerings to explore online, from the world-class museum collections to global street art to the PEBBLES Never Stop Doo-ing Gallery, which features creations by young artists that kids can easily relate to.

Model imagination.

For better and worse, kids imitate adults. If you are the kind of parent who’s willing to play make-believe with their kids, get down on the ground to play with them, and, above all, encourage their most fantastic ideas while playing, you’re saying creativity and fun aren’t to be discarded as they get older. There aren’t many more valuable lessons you can impart as a parent.

Be on the lookout for spontaneous creative opportunities.

Parents should also take advantage of creative opportunities as they pop up: combing over the back issues of magazines in the pediatrician’s waiting room, stopping to listen to a musician playing on a street corner, having your kid sous chef Sunday dinner—all are valuable opportunities to build creativity that can be easy to miss. Even your kids’ favorite cereal, Pebbles, is doing its part to help kids Never Stop Doo-ing with Yabba Dabba Dunk and other fun creative projects. Go to createwithpebbles.com to learn more.