This week’s post is by Guest Blogger Bekki Sayler, Valley Oaks Homeschool Parent featuring tips on growing amazingly creative and imaginative kids.

My dad always said creativity and imagination lived just on the other side of boredom.

I watch this truth play out not only in my own life, but the lives of my children as well. I have 5 very talented and creative boys. Yes, I am biased, but I am telling you it’s true.

The boys are Lego architects, writers, painters, musicians, and simply a whole bunch of fun to be around. Before I sound too much like a snotty prideful mom, I want to repeat what my dad always told me:

“Creativity and Imagination live just on the other side of boredom.”

Here the secret to growing amazingly creative and imaginative kids… Let them be bored!

Allow your kids to get bored. I mean really bored. 

  • Do not rescue them (unless there’s blood).
  • Do not turn on the TV and absolutely ban “all things electronic.
  • Tell them all you have is an endless list of chores for them to complete if they come to you for suggestions.
  • If the weather permits, send ’em outside and tell them they cannot come in until the timer dings. At least an hour!
  • Sit back and wait…

Depending on how over-stimulated and over scheduled your kids are, there will likely be a delay between their first boredom appointment and the flow of creativity. It could be a few minutes, or a few days. Trust me it is worth the wait!

Plan for periods of boredom regularly. Daily is best. Summer is meant for this type of schedule- embrace it.

You may think I am crazy, but I am quite sane. Its the bored kids who create the “new games”. Its the bored kids who create awesome forts. Its the bored kids who write creative stories. Its the bored kids who think painting a fence is fun. Its the bored kids who weave comlicated characters and events into their make-believe playtime. Its the bored kids who change the world.

Now, if you just cannot handle the thought of allowing your children to become really bored, or if the thought of the possibly whining makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck: cheat.

  • Go to the local thrift stores and let them buy some new dress-up clothes.
  • Pick up a few (or a few dozen) empty cardboard boxes.
  • Find a spell-binding book to read aloud at breakfast or lunch. Be sure to stop reading at an exciting part! This is a great time to send them off. My kids end up personifying literary characters often!
  • Buy some spiral bound notebooks and “special pens” to help them write a creative story (Tell them you will not correct spelling and grammar… just let them write).
  • Invite a “cool big kid” over to play.

As homeschoolers we can over schedule our childrens lives to the point of physical and mental exhaustion. Slow down. Let the lull of summer on the horizon remind us that it is more than ok to slow down. We need to allow our children to come to the end of their schedules in order to provide time and opportunity for creativity.