5 Creativity Boosting Activities For Toddlers

Children are naturally inquisitive explorers who learn best through play and modeling. Parents and teachers can help young children boost their natural creativity by providing time, opportunity, and materials, along with lots of support and encouragement. Here are 5 activities you can do with a toddler to help foster a creative mind that will help develop confidence and a strong mind. 

#1. Role-Playing, Simulations, And Dress Up Games

Probably since the beginning of time children have made sense of the world by imitating what they see and hear. If you have ever watched a child play house or dress up like a doctor or police officer, then you’ve witnessed this first hand. Children of all ages and genders can benefit from play kitchens, dollhouses, dress-up corners, and other role-playing games. Try to allow plenty of unstructured free time for them to explore. You can choose to join in, but avoid managing the activity and let them take the lead.  

You can build up your role-playing supplies cheaply with yard sale and thrift store finds. A great way to collect dress-up clothes is to hit post-Halloween sales. Additional ideas for role-playing games and dress-up costumes:

  • Kitchen
  • Grocery Store 
  • Restaurant
  • Garage / Car Shop
  • Vet Office / Animal Shelter (with stuffed animals) 
  • Doctor, Dentist, Hospital 
  • Superheroes
  • Police, Fire Fighter
  • Teacher / Classroom 
  • Store / Cash Register 

#2. Reading Aloud Or Storytelling 

Reading fiction helps people of all ages be more creative because we use our imaginations to live the story or picture it in our heads. Very young children can’t read their own stories but parents, teachers, and caregivers can spend time reading to them. Reading to a toddler might be a little more involved than reading to an older child so here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Choose an engaging book on a topic that your toddler loves. 
  • Sitting still for reading isn’t a requirement for young children, let them move around or act out parts of the story along with you. 
  • Read slowly but use an animated character voice to help keep them entertained. 
  • Being loud and silly is encouraged! 
  • Here are a few creative reading suggestions for your toddler storytime. 

#3. Creative Sensory Play

What’s more creative than using all five senses to explore your world? Sensory play helps develop the mind, make connections, and increases creativity. It’s also a fun excuse to get messy and play with your toddler. If possible, provide a sensory play activity daily and let their imaginations run wild while they learn about texture, shapes, colors, smells, and more. Here are a few tried and true favorites when it comes to sensory play activities:

  • Fill a bathtub with stuffed animals and hop inside!
  • Shaving cream or whipped cream play on a tabletop.
  • A plastic tub filled with water beads.
  • Bathtub Finger Paints (shaving cream mixed with food coloring).
  • Rainbow spaghetti noodles.
  • Sink play with floating toys.
  • A box full of cloud dough (Recipe)

#4. Go Wild With Messy Art Projects

When you think about “creativity”, art is probably one of the first areas that comes to mind. Experimenting with colors and different mediums is a great way to use your imagination. Besides providing the materials, adults can help by showing enthusiasm and giving positive feedback. Applaud your toddler’s art projects, create an art gallery, show off the projects to family and friends, and help them feel pride in their work. 

Here are a few examples of fun art projects toddlers can easily do with little to no help besides setting up and cleanup:

Painting With Ice Cubes

Freeze water and food coloring in individual ice cubes. Halfway through freezing, add a toothpick to each one as a handle. Have the toddler paint on paper with the ice cubes. As they melt they will create a pretty watercolor painting. 

Body Tracing

Use a large piece of paper or butchers roll paper, have the toddler lay down while you trace an outline of their body using a thick marker. Encourage your toddler to color and paint inside the outline

Marble Painting

Put a blank piece of paper in a shallow plastic bin. Drip marbles in paint and drop them onto the paper. Your toddler can tilt the container back and forth, sending the marbles spinning around and leaving colorful lines and splotches across the paper. 

#5. Make Some Music Together 

Another unmistakable spoke in the wheel of creativity is music. Studies show that infants and toddlers who are exposed to music training have increased white and grey matter in the brain that helps them make connections and develop language at a faster pace. The changes caused in the brain by these creative activities create lifelong benefits. Here are some wonderful ways to play with music and boost creativity with young children.

  • Make musical instruments from objects around the house. Have you ever seen a baby or toddler bang pots and pans together? It might be loud, but they are learning and using their creative brains. You can make music with tin cans, spoons, rice in a jar, or just about anything that makes noise. 
  • Play music during playtime, art time, or just about anytime throughout the day. Expose your toddler to different genres and music from all over the world. 
  • Make up songs with words and silly noises to sing with your toddler. Sing short phrases and have them repeat the phrases back, the sillier the better. 

The more you encourage creativity during their early years, the more comfortable and confident your child will feel sharing their ideas with others throughout life. Time spent being creative will help them develop critical thinking skills, help with problem-solving, and help them learn to express complicated feelings and emotions. Don’t forget to offer praise and support throughout their creative journey. Some of the best learning takes place while making a mess, so don’t be afraid to let them get down and dirty. 

Author Bio

Sandra Chiu works as Director at LadyBug & Friends Daycare

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