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How do you motivate your child to be creative?

When your children are still young, what are some things you can do to encourage them to enjoy childhood and utilize their creativity instead of turning to a device to provide all their entertainment?

First, naturally limit use of electronic devices to fill times of boredom.

A quick Google search of “the value of boredom” revealed:

Why is it that we have lost the love of boredom? Where do good ideas come from? Being bored. Making sure that we don’t hand our child a device or allow them to flip on the television or computer every time they claim “I’m bored,” is a huge step toward helping them develop skills that allow them to seek alternatives to electronics.

Setting up stations or areas where your child can go when they are bored, can encourage creative play

A Dress-Up Station

Fill a bin with open-ended dress-up ideas.  Old clothes from your closet, Grandma’s or Goodwill is a great start. Look for Halloween costumes on sale in the winter. Scarves, costume jewelry, and even large fabric remnants can inspire your little one to get into character and go on adventures.  Accessories such as shoes and sunglasses also add a fun touch. Don’t forget a mirror so they can see how great they look. Dress-up can result in hours of pretending, dance events, and creative character play.

A Building Station

A tub with building supplies provides an opportunity for trial and error and figuring out the best way to create a project. Of course, Legos are great but so are other building materials. A visit to a construction site dumpster (with permission) or the local home improvement store can yield endless pieces for modular play. Various size pieces of PVC pipe and fittings, boards (remove any nails or splinters), and other building materials make for fort building paradise. Add a few sheets from a yard sale and your children may want to spend the night in their new creation.

An Arts & Crafts Station

Another storage tub could be dedicated to arts and crafts supplies. Stock up when school supplies are plentiful and add paints and paint brushes, fabric scraps and embroidery thread, glue and some construction paper, old magazines, and a couple of T-shirt’ for smocks.  Your artistic child will be content for hours creating a masterpiece for your fridge.

As with any activity for young children, you will need to set parameters on where they can spread out their creative supplies and how they will need to clean them up and return them to the storage tub. Eventually they will be able to independently choose activities, rather than always going to a device for entertainment.

By offering this unstructured time, think of the opportunities you are providing for your child.  They are practicing skills that use creativity, imagination, and innovation. So next time your youngster starts to whine, instead of handing over the iPad, reach for an activity tub to inspire them

It’s that time of year again … School’s out! Are you looking for fun ways of celebrating this milestone with your child? Read on for ideas that will help launch your child into a great summer no matter their age.


Part of the joy of summer for young children is simply being outside. Celebrate the end of a school year by enjoying time outside, either in your own backyard or at a local park. Setting up a kid-friendly sprinkler, building a fort or fun obstacle course together, or providing a set of water squirters will launch her into outdoor fun that can last all summer long.

Early Elementary

Celebrate how far your child has come by showing her pictures of herself at the start of the school year and now. Work together to make a list of things that she couldn’t do at the start of the year that she can do now. By celebrating your child’s achievements, both large and small, you are showing her that you value the person that she is becoming.

Later Elementary

Help your child think of a few accomplishments in the last school year that make him feel proud. Did he learn to play the recorder, make a new best friend, or participate in a new after-school event? Provide your youngster with crafting supplies and help him create an award for this accomplishment. Encourage children to think outside of themselves and create awards for other members in your family (Best Lunch Packer, Queen of Morning Drop Off, Homework Helper, etc.). Celebrating these accomplishments shows your child that growth is measured by more than just the grades on his report card.


Middle School

Create summer t-shirts with your middle schooler. You might choose tie dye, iron-on graphics, fabric markers, or simple paint to help your tween express themselves. This is a great project for just you and your child, or you could add a friend or two. Not only does this project offer an afternoon of DIY fun, your child will have a celebration shirt to wear all summer.



High School

Give your high schooler a box of summer fun! Consider including a new swimsuit, flip flops, sunglasses, a gift certificate for a favorite summer place they enjoy (movie theatres, restaurants, and coffee shops are all great ideas), and a few favorite snacks are sure to make your high schooler even more excited for the end of the school year. Don’t forget to include a note to your teen recognizing their hard work and letting them know how proud you are of them.


Perfect for All Ages (Even Grown-Ups)

Remind your child that learning is fun and doesn’t stop when the school year ends by choosing a book, or several, to read over the summer. Check out your public library (many of which have summer reading programs) or a local bookstore to make your selections. Don’t forget to pick up a book or two for yourself. When children see you value reading, they are more likely to read themselves.




Engaging in summer kickoff activities is the perfect way to show your child how proud you are of all that they have accomplished this school year. It also provides a great start to your summer together!


Memorial Day can be more than just the traditional kickoff to summer. This national holiday is a perfect time to teach your children the importance of this day, and to show them how to honor our nation’s heroes.


Check out your local library for children’s books about Memorial Day. Use this holiday as a chance to teach your child about why we celebrate. Your librarian is sure to have recommendations for your child’s age, but a few good options might be:

The Wall by Eve Bunting

Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops  by Jill Biden

What the Baby Saw by Theresa Mamah

Memorial Day by Emma Carlson Berne


Crafts are a perfect way to celebrate this holiday. It can be amazing what children can do with a little bit of red, white, and blue paper and paint. Creating American flags, pinwheels, wreaths, and stars will also serve as decorations for your celebrations. Don’t limit yourself to paper crafts. Creating patriotic-themed desserts and snacks can serve as a creative family-activity time for you and your child, while also offering a sweet treat as a reward for your hard work.

Honor and Respect

In talking about the meaning of Memorial Day, it is important to teach about honoring and respecting those who gave their lives in service of our country. Visiting a local war memorial or a veterans’ cemetery can be a time for your family to honor and respect our country’s heroes. If there is not a veterans’ cemetery near you, try walking through a local cemetery. Most veterans’ military service is noted on their gravestones.


In 2000, after learning that most children did not associate Memorial Day with memorializing fallen soldiers, Congress enacted The National Moment of Remembrance. In signing this act, President Clinton asked Americans, wherever they were at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to pause in an act of national unity for a duration of one minute. This moment of silence is often accompanied by the playing of “Taps.”  Teach your child about the Moment of Remembrance, then set an alarm on your phone or watch for 3 p.m.. Take this minute to pause and remember the men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country.


Many communities organize parades as a way to celebrate the start of summer and to memorialize our nation’s heroes. Check your local news to see what is available in your area. Another option is to watch our nation’s largest Memorial Day event, The National Memorial Day Parade is held at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Memorial Day. The parade salutes all who have served and sacrificed in service for our country. You can also view a livestream of the parade by searching “The National Memorial Day Parade” on YouTube.

However you choose to celebrate Memorial Day with your family, remember to take the time to teach the next generation about the history of this national holiday and enjoy the kickoff to a great summer!