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My little Flynn turned one a few days ago. I still remember his smell and the warmth of his skin against mine when he came into this world as though it were yesterday. Watching my kids grow is really like watching a flower blossom—each one reveals their unique beauty and colours in their own way. Recently, I noticed that Flynn’s interest in creative games and pass-times just keeps growing day after day, so I thought I’d share activities and tricks that stimulate creativity in children.

1. Choose simple games

Wooden toys that don’t need batteries are always good. We like blocks, animal figures, natural wood, and even semi-precious stones. Sky and Flynn enjoy themselves building, taking apart, and placing semi-precious stones on their bodies in quite a natural and intuitive way, as though they were giving themselves an energy treatment.

2. Create a box for crafts filled will art supplies

I occasionally add new things to the box like colourful pompoms, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, felt sheets, and so on. Sky of course has her own kid-friendly scissors, glue and paint. We open the box and make stick figures or draw cats…more cats…and still more cats! She copies me and proudly draws her own animals that she then shows to everyone. Before placing a box or bottle in the recycling bin, think about using it in your next art project with the kids. You’ll be surprised to see how a large cardboard box with a cut out door and window can provide hours upon hours of fun!

3. Feature your children’s masterpieces on your walls

Feature yours as well! In the kids’ playroom (which is basically our entire living room), we’ve hung up all the drawings and canvases my husband and I made for Sky when I was pregnant with her. She looks at them every day and I tell her that mom and dad made them while thinking of her. Let’s inspire our kids to draw, colour and paint by setting the example and doing it along with them.

4. Stimulate your child’s imagination by playing make-believe and reversing roles

Sky often likes to make believe she’s my mom and I’m her baby. She wants to breastfeed her dolls (and her little brother!) and likes to take tea with me in her little porcelain cups. We don’t pour any water; we just sit with these tiny cups. She makes believe she’s pouring water while warning me “hot, mommy.” We clink glasses and drink slowly for hour and hours of fun! This activity lets me stimulate her creativity, imagination and even her fine motor skills.

5. Dance and sing with your children

This is something my mom would do with us when we were younger. We each had our wooden spoon (which we used as our mike) and my mom would suddenly put on a song that had us singing and dancing. I really think this is a great and fun way to bond. It’s a spontaneous moment with nobody taking themselves seriously. My kids adore music, and they love dancing with their dad—they have the same taste in music!

Audrey Sckoropad