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Tips on Starting Kids Early to be Creative

Helping your child see shapes and colors around them is an important part of nurturing their creativity and artistic abilities (to say nothing of math and engineering skills too!). This can seem like a daunting and extremely easy task all at the same time. It’s just a matter of teaching circles, squares, triangles, rectangles and red, green, yellow, blue, right? I thought so too until my daughter’s preschool teacher told me that identifying shapes is something my daughter struggles with. I think it’s such a seemingly easy task to teach these basics that I often miss opportunities to teach them in new ways.

One way of helping teach your child about different shapes and seeing them around us is talking about what things look like. For example, what shape does a tree look like? It could be a triangle and a straight line or it could be a circle with a straight line. Another shape to look for is rectangles—all those billboards and store fronts make great examples. Talking about the shapes of letters on signs and stores is another fun option. My 2-year-old son loves playing the spare tire game that we created. We have to find spare tires (circles), while we’re out driving.

If you’re completely stuck or want another way of interacting with shapes, check out these fun picture books.

-Brown Rabbit’s Shapes by Alan Baker

-Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tom Hopgood

-Apples and Robins by Lucie Felix

-Shape Capers by Cathryn Falwell

Another option is to get some square paper and fold it into triangles and then make a smaller square and create some basic animals, such as a dog, cat, bird, and mouse. Easy origami projects are helpful in changing the shape of that basic square origami paper comes in. Some of my favorites include:

- Origami Dog Head

-Origami Cat Head

-Origami Noisemaker

-Origami Baby Yoda


-Jumping Cricket

-Origami Owl


A final idea is to save some of the shipping boxes you get when ordering something online and tape them shut or open depending on the size. Use the boxes to create towers and cities or tunnels. One of our favorite “box” books is “The Birthday Box” by Leslie Patricelli.

Most importantly, have fun. If you have fun doing something, it will rub off onto your children and those around you.

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