It may seem ironic to realize children learn through creative play, but research has proven that preschoolers are able to solve problems using critical thinking, express opinions and ideas that would not normally surface in a face-to-face conversation, and learn to take risks through creative expression. Although often paired with art, creative expression need not contain a paintbrush or a lump of clay. My son loved texture when he was a toddler. I found him one afternoon quietly “polishing” our hallway with baby oil. I could have reacted by raising my voice and snatching the offending oil from his sweet, pudgy hand, but instead I wondered how effective a polishing agent baby oil was. What we discovered together is baby oil is slippery, so we grabbed fuzzy socks and skated until the oil mostly disappeared. While he napped, I removed the oil. This could have been a major catastrophe in a traditional household, but I raised my children to experiment, and they taught me more about the world than I ever knew existed.

When parents break down the walls of structure, children experience life to the fullest. They are not afraid of rearranging carefully constructed blocks to build as high as they can reach.  If the blocks fall, they giggle and try again. By focusing on learning rather than perfection, your child learns through doing, giving him or her more focus, competence, optimism, and perseverance, both inside and outside of their Orlando preparatory school.

As fine motor skills develop, give your child a piece of paper and a chunky crayon and see what is on his or her mind. The results may be fascinating. My son drew a picture of a cat with many whiskers and labeled it “catt.” I told him he only needed one “t” at the end. He told me that when a cat had that many whiskers, it needed more letters in its name. Ten years later, my adolescent son is self assured and confident because I gave him the freedom to express himself. This example proves that artistic talent is not the key to learning; creativity is. Research has proven the factors that encourage emotional health are those that also inspire creativity. Through creativity, children learn to explore and fulfill their sense of curiosity. Painting floors with baby oil (and, later, bathroom walls with shaving cream) helped my son realize I would support his endeavors and empowered him to learn on his own. Every time I attempted to rein him in, he broke through the boundaries and taught me another lesson. Give your children encouragement as they discover the joys of learning through creative activities.

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