Creativity is a natural human skill that helps us express our thoughts, ideas and feelings. It’s also just like any other skill, in that to develop it, we need to practise it. Exposing children to creative experiences allows them to get comfortable with this side of themselves and learn to express their inner experiences.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel in determining ways to help your kids explore their creativity; creative play toys and craft kits are specifically designed to provide these opportunities. Let's explore why creative play is important for kids, what creative development in early childhood can look like.

Why is Creative Play Important?

Creative play is all about helping children explore their imagination to promote social and emotional development in their early childhood. Kids learn to associate tasks with feelings by expressing themselves through a creative medium, even when they might not yet know how to speak. Creative play provides safe confines so that they grow up knowing it’s safe to express themselves, allowing them to adapt to the world around them and understand their feelings.

Creative play encompasses a broad field of activities. It can include drawing, painting, dancing, baking, building, or any other experiment that provides a medium for stimulating senses and expression. This means that sensory play is also a component of creative play, as children need to develop their senses to explore their creativity. Sensory play involves the engagement of senses to help children develop cognitive connections.

What are the Benefits of Creative Play in Early Childhood Development? 

Creativity is a critical tool to manage life effectively and navigate the world. As creative play helps kids develop their creativity and express their experiences, it's important in making connections between their minds and the world outside of their own. It helps children understand who they are and what their role is relative to their surroundings. Below we explore the benefits of creative play in early childhood development:

Helps kids manage emotions

Feeling and emotions are complex and not easy to articulate, especially when you are a child, so learning to express them in creative ways is fundamental to helping humans understand our emotions. Through creative play, kids are encouraged to express how they feel, with infinite options, so they can begin to make sense of what’s going on inside their heads and hearts. Understanding themselves also increases their sense of self and self-confidence by knowing it’s normal to have these emotions.

Develop social skills

Understanding ourselves and that our emotions are valid is also an important part of interacting with others. Creative play shows children that others can have opposing feelings and approach activities differently. Sharing creativity and projects between peers also helps kids find ways to build relationships with others based on communicating their authentic selves.

Physical and sensory development

Creative play involves many wonderful activities, all of which ask kids to use their various motor skills. Dancing, drama, painting and drawing all work to develop gross motor skills and build cognitive connections between the senses and the brain. Creative and sensory play sessions are closely linked because there are many overlapping skills used in each. Sensory play is pivotal to child development as it helps children refine senses they’ll use for their entire lives.

Develop their cognitive and intellectual ability

Creative play facilitates children’s use of their mental capacity. Many creative activities involve problem-solving, critical thinking and using imagination and concentration. Absorbing information and concepts and using imagination to generate solutions and ideas begins to build their intellectual and cognitive base. Creating these mental patterns early will help them develop further in later years, transferring their skills to other areas of life.

Improves children’s wellbeing

Creative activities are great because they don't have a right or wrong answer. Children are free to do tasks as they please, where completion alone is achievement enough, helping to improve their wellbeing. Creative play is also a lot of fun for kids, and it gives them a chance to focus on being playful for the sake of it with no goal in mind, rather than pressure to perform.

While it improves their wellbeing, it also teaches children the joy and value of living in the moment and committing time for personal fun, which will help them relieve stress later in life. Creative play also presents opportunities for you to connect with your child in new ways while allowing them to lead you through an activity. This special bonding can do wonders for both you and your child's well-being.

Why Sensory Play & Creative Play is Important to Conduct Together

As mentioned, creative play and sensory play overlap because they both stimulate gross motor skills. Sensory play is important in early childhood development because we’re obviously not born with our senses developed. Introducing sensory play into your kids' playtime offers a range of benefits, as it helps them create cognitive relationships between their senses, which helps in using these essential skills in a wider environment beyond their childhood.

Sensory play can help develop coordination, balance and movement which will help kids complete everyday tasks. This allows them to become self-sufficient and can teach them to button a shirt, hold a pen, tie their shoelaces and use their knife and fork to eat. Through the act of playing with toys designed to stimulate the senses, they build muscle memory and hand-eye coordination that transfers to a multitude of tasks.

Example of creative and sensory play

To better explain why creative play is important, let's explore this finger paint set example, which is also a sensory play kit. Kids are encouraged to touch the paints and examine how the touch feels on their skin, developing a cognitive connection to touch.

When they have paint on their fingers, they can begin painting however they choose. Kids will move their fingers by what comes to them naturally, which is an expression of what they're feeling. As all of this is happening, they're making the sensory and creative relationships between their feelings, senses and mind.

Enhance Creative Development in Early Childhood with Help from Craftercise

There is an excellent range of products that are designed to structure creative development in early childhood more efficiently. Craftercise has collections to help children develop in many different areas, including many great sensory and creative play options. Browse our collection of fun and rewarding tools for powering creative development in early childhood today! For more information on our items, contact us today!

February 03, 2022 — Aleisha Dakin