How to Encourage Creative Play in the Playground

Creative play is a vital part of childhood and child development. Here we look at ways your school can encourage this creativity. 

Creativity is the use of imagination and ideas to come up with something of value. This could be a physical invention, a piece of art or a solution to a problem for example.

Creativity in children is really important to their development. It encourages them to try new things out, take pride in their achievements and think outside the box. The growth of children’s minds is incredibly important and creativity is essential in achieving this. This research concludes “Creativity is the freest form of self-expression. There is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling for children than to be able to express themselves openly and without judgment.”

Here we look into ways we can encourage creativity in children.

Creative play ideas for schools
  • Create scenarios: Help children come up with ideas for imaginative play by suggesting situations that may interest them. Play house, astronaut, doctor, school, store, restaurant, superhero or whatever you can think of. Encourage children to role-play a scenario they recently encountered or relieve anxiety about an upcoming appointment through pretend play.
  • Get outside: Being in nature has long been linked with creativity. There is lots to occupy young minds outdoors. Observe constantly changing weather patterns and seasons. Watch clouds and look for interesting shapes. Let children play in the sand, dirt, and water. Gather twigs, leaves, and rocks and build forts, sandcastles, and more.
  • Have a reading routine: Read every day to encourage your child to imagine characters and situations from storybooks. With daily reading, you’ll encourage literacy while enhancing imagination. It also provides opportunity for role-playing, as children can act out scenarios from the book. Outdoor classrooms and story telling chairs are great ways to enhance reading time and be outside at the same time.
  • Help them pursue their passions: As parents, it’s common to persuade children to pursue sports or hobbies that we enjoy or want them to be good at. Whilst it’s a good idea to expose children to a range of activities, allowing them some freedom to choose their area of focus can foster their creative minds. As humans, we’re a lot better at developing our skills and expertise when we’re fully engaged in something.
  • Ask questions: Pose interesting and hypothetical questions to get children thinking. Ask questions like, “what would you do if…” to encourage discussion or spark an idea for creative play.
  • Allow downtime: It’s important not to schedule every hour of a child’s day. Leave room for unstructured playtime so that they can come up with their own ideas. Limit screen time and allow for times of boredom to happen – this is when children use their creative skills to find something to do. When children are left to their own devices, all they have is their imagination and their resources at hand.
Creative play experts

Playcubed have been creating outdoor play and learning spaces in schools for over 40 years. From natural and sensory gardens, through to growing areas and outdoor classrooms, creative play can be hugely enhanced with the correct provisions. So, if your school is looking for outdoor space to nurture creativity, contact us today to discuss how we can create a space that really works for your needs.

Speak to the play experts