Order Soon for Christmas Delivery!🎄 ➔

When I was a child, everything was an art project, every school assignment was an opportunity for creativity. I used the back of my hand as a canvass well into high school. I was also a mess. My room was always a disaster. I kept crayons in my pockets, hoarded every piece of scrap paper I drew on; my floor was carpeted in books. Before I could read I would hold up books and tell my dad stories as if I was reading the book to him. My drawings were real experiences, and many of the stories I told only existed in my imagination. Even today, in my mid-twenties, I still have false memories from my childhood because I created so many stories in my head that were real to me. I was a creative child and sometimes quite the handful for my dad. Fortunately for me, he helped harness my creativity and encouraged it when I was very young.

Creative children look at the world in a different way than others their age. Their imaginations run wild and they get lost in their creative side. This sometimes leads to disorganization, behavioral problems, and trouble listening to ridged instructions.

For those raising creative beings, there are some things you can do to help nurture your child’s artistic side while still keeping them on task.

Rewarding effort

Research has shown that rewarding the effort your child exerts will teach them that trying hard is something to be proud of no matter what the outcome is. Children can suffer from feelings of inadequacy if they are rewarded for the result of their work and not the work they’ve put in. It’s natural for them to excel in one area and not in another. The important thing to focus on is the amount of effort exerted. This doesn’t mean that you can’t reward them for coming in first place or getting a good grade on a test, it just means that they should be rewarded for their effort in both first place and last place situations if the effort put in is equal but the results are different.

Creative children can sometimes be very sensitive to situations like this. Feelings of inadequacy can result from an overabundance of rewarding results and not effort. When schooling and activities become more challenging as the child becomes older, this type of thinking can damage their creative drive by forcing them to focus on the path to the result and not the creative journey to obtain it.

Creative toys

Creative kids gain a lot from toys that help develop their artistic side. Open-use toys that don’t require them to follow a controlled experience – such as Lego kits– allow kids to use their imagination and make whatever their mind creates. Blocks, dolls, and trucks require them to use their imagination to create structures, realities, and roads for them.

Alternative toys are also great for the creative mind. Something as simple as a cardboard box can be an easy and highly engrossing toy for them. This is also a great alternative for those that really enjoy coloring on the walls. Stick them in a box with some markers and see what they make out of it. Maybe they will pretend the box is a spaceship, maybe they just sit and color. You will get to watch your child’s eyes light up with the possibilities.

Craft projects

A weekly craft project with mom or dad will be a dream for them. Karla Cook, an experienced home educator, argues that requiring your kiddo to “sit still” isn’t a social norm you have to follow. She uses art to get the wiggles out in a healthy way. Avoid projects that offer guidelines that are too strict for their creative minds to stick to. Painting planting pots, finger painting, Popsicle stick creations, or just coloring are great activities to help harness their creativity. Be sure to find a way to display some of their work. Have an area on the fridge, a cork board, or a frame on your desk at work dedicated to showcasing their art.

Expect a mess

There will be messes. This is a virtual certainty with most children. For the creative types messes will mean gorgeous paintings, amazing toy creations, beautiful stories, and an active mind. For many artists of any age, letting a mess happen while they are in a creative or artistic mindset is just a part of the process. It is completely fine to let your child make a mess, within reason, while they let their creativity flow. Don’t let their messes get out of hand, however, and let them know that they are to clean up their area once they are done. Be sure to put down newspaper or plastic if you are worried about the mess becoming too destructive.


Unplugging from electronic devices is a great practice for the entire family. For your child, the dependence on video games or television can stifle their imagination that is necessary to keep their creative minds running. Take a few hours a day to color, play with Legos, finger paint, write, take photos, or make something. Allow them to help you bake, cook, or work on the car. Creativity can mean any number of things and unplugging from electronics will force your little one to find other means of entertainment. Not all video games and television shows cause negative effects for kids, in fact many are created with education and creativity in mind. Regardless, a few hours of unplugging will be a nice relief for everyone.

Despite the painted finger prints everywhere, stained clothes, and drawers overflowing with craft supplies, your child’s smile and creative spirit will be all the thanks you need for helping their artistic side flourish. In organizing your lives around cultivating your kiddo’s creativity, you are doing them a great service by showing them that their creativity is something to harness and not something to stifle. Raising a creative child requires you to be innovative, understanding, and resourceful, but your creative kiddo will appreciate it your efforts.

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Chelsy Ranard

Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree in 2012 from the University of Montana. She is happiest when writing, creating spray paint art, and drinking fruity wine.

Don’t Fear the Gap

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Baby lying on mother's chest, black-and-white photo

I was afraid of the gap. You know, the one where you have some kids and then wait several years to have another? That gap. When we moved here, we kept all the baby things because we weren’t ready to say we were done but weren’t ready to start over. Moving to the farm brought wayyy more chores than our neighborhood home and adding a tiny human to that mix felt a bit crazy. RELATED: I’ll Always Want Another Baby There were months of back and forth . . . talk of barefoot baby feet stomping all over this place...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, If Something Feels Off, It Probably Is—Trust Your Intuition

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Mother and daughter black and white photo

A few weeks ago, my 7-year-old daughter was playing at a friend’s house when she messaged me on her game tablet to come pick her up. I didn’t ask why I just went to get her. I asked her once she was home how it was, and she told me she had a weird feeling and she was just “trusting her guts,” which I loved hearing her say. Apparently, her friend had a bunch of extended family show up at the house that we were unaware of. She is extremely outgoing, friendly, and confident so she thought nothing of listening...

Keep Reading

10 Lessons I Hope You Learn Playing Youth Sports

In: Kids, Motherhood
Boy dribbling down basketball court, black-and-white photo

Last night was my sixth grader’s last basketball game of the season. He played with many of the same gang of boyhood friends he has known since kindergarten. This year, however, they were introduced to a traveling team, older players, and much stiffer competition than they had encountered in the past. They stood the test and played their little boy hearts out. I am proud of my son, his team, his coaches, and all the familiar faces we came to know in the Greenwood Laboratory School cheering section each week, sometimes two to three times in one week!  Here’s to...

Keep Reading

I Love You At Every Stage

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three children at park, color photo

Confession: I love the 1-year-old phase. Our youngest is one and such a joy to be around. He’s still so cuddly, finds such joy in the smallest things, is learning new things every day, and smiles at every little thing his big brother and sister do. I love the 3-year-old phase. Our only girl is three. She has a flair for the dramatic, but she is very forthright with her feelings. “I’m having a hard time.” “I just miss my daddy when he’s at the Fire House.” “I’m a princess.” “God made me beautiful.” She is quick to be a...

Keep Reading

Simple Moments Shape Childhood

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy in shallow water of beach

Sometimes it’s the little things that can turn out to be the biggest things. Motherhood has made me appreciate the everyday moments, the simple moments, differently.  Being outdoors with my boys can be simple in theory, but I absolutely love the adventures we take. Whether we are hiking, biking, swimming, exploring, or checking out a new park, this momma knows it is time well spent.  RELATED: I’m Watching You Grow Up in the Little Moments Because whether they realize it or not, these memories being made are the special ones. The ones my boys will carry with them in their...

Keep Reading

I Promise to Show Up for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter in garden

My child, I hope you know you can count on this: I will show up for you. I will show up when you wake in the middle of the night, when you get up too early or stay up too late. I will be there to make your meals, read you a story, and tuck you into bed. I will show up when you are sick—taking time off work, bringing you to the doctor, cleaning up your throw-up, and sitting up with you. I will show up at every game, sitting in the stands or a camp chair, freezing or...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading

I’m in the Big Little Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
black and white photo of little boy and little girl standing in a window together

I’m in the big little years. It’s when you’re no longer in the tender season of babies and toddlers—those sweet, smothering, exhausting years of being constantly touched and needed . . . . . . but you’re not yet in the big kid years—navigating boyfriends and driver’s licenses and bracing your heart for the impending ache of an empty nest. I’m somewhere in between. I’m in the years of having littles that aren’t so little anymore, but still need you for so much. They have big feelings. Big ideas. Big dreams. But they have mostly little problems (even though they...

Keep Reading