How to encourage your child’s creativity: free play at Singapore’s next Pop-Up Adventure Playground

“I’m bored!” It’s the hallmark cry of the holiday season – and there are plenty of ways to combat this, between all of Singapore’s attractions for kids and infinite courses and camps to keep them entertained. But, since it’s the season of giving (and we’re fans of meaningful gifts around here), why not consider giving your kids the gift of creativity? It might come as a relief to know that this gift isn’t going to cost you a bomb. Creativity is actually not something that can be bought, and it’s not something that can be taught. It is something, however, that requires a little bit of know-how to get started, but once you get it going, it can be a gift for life. Want to get the ball rolling? Join Chapter Zero’s pop-up adventure playground at Playeum on 10 December 2016 where kids can let their imaginations run wild, with nothing but ‘ordinary’ household items to fuel the fun!

But first of all, how do we raise creative kids? Let’s try to break down what creativity is and what it is not:

  • Creativity is not art and crafts – although it can be – it’s more a way of problem solving that comes about when we’re able to imagine different possibilities.
  • Creativity is not something rigidly taught and practiced over and over again – although repetition can be part of the process.
  • Creativity is not only for the gifted few. Every child is born with a curious and creative mind.
  • Creativity is like a muscle; it can be flexed and strengthened.
  • Creativity begets creativity – in other words, once you sew the seed of creativity, it continues to grow.

Why is creativity so important?

  • A child who does well in school may very well end up being a doctor or a lawyer, but a creative child will imagine a better world. A successful and creative doctor or lawyer will not only heal their patient and defend their client, but they are also more likely to heal a broken medical or legal system.
  • A creative child has the imagination to discover their own interests and find joy in their work.
  • A creative mind is a kind and caring mind. A creative mind can imagine what it is like to be somebody else, and therefore is much more likely to empathise with others.

All lovely qualities in a human being! This Christmas we’d like our children to be more Grateful Giving Gandhi and less Greedy Gobbling Goblin, amiright? So how do we make it happen?

How can we bring creativity into our children’s lives?

  • Give your children the gift of free time and free play – time away from classes and schedules.
  • Get them out of the home, off the manicured condo grounds and let them make a mud pie and build things from sticks.
  • At home give them clothes to get dirty in and use an old sheet or shower curtain on the floor to allow for some mess – they can help clean up later.
  • Don’t interfere with their play. Be present, but don’t direct their play by telling them how to do this, or how to do that, wait until they ask you to join in, and play by their rules.
  • Hide toys that are proving too complex as they might discourage and frustrate your child.
  • Provide children with some simple materials, which are more versatile than complex ones. We’ve all heard of the toddler ignoring the expensive present and playing with the box it came in instead. For older children, a magnifying glass, some planks of wood, a basket of wool etc might be the start of many happily occupied hours.
  • Don’t be afraid of boredom these holidays. Boredom is fuel to the creative fire. A recent study has shown that the wandering mind is more likely to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions to problems.

Still not convinced that popping a bow on the contents of the kitchen drawer and telling your kids to enjoy their home staycation is going to cut it this Christmas? Join the folks from Chapter Zero, who are hosting their fifth Pop-Up Adventure Playground on the playazza (forecourt) of Playeum. You’ll witness kids from as young as three years old entertaining themselves with what they call ‘loose parts’ – essentially tactile common objects found around the home that aren’t nailed down. Marvel at the fact that with no adult direction and no classes, kids can keep themselves creatively occupied for hours! There’ll be play crew on hand to tell you more about creative play and how it can enrich your child’s life.

Whilst you’re there, you can visit Playeum, the Children’s Centre for Creativity. It provides hands-on, interactive, and creative installations and activities for children aged one to 12. Playeum’s current exhibition, A World Full of Stories, is bound to get your child’s creative juices flowing, and it has a great line-up of accompanying programmes too.

When: Saturday 10 December 2016, 3-6pm, rain or shine!
Where: Playeum’s Playazza (forecourt), The Children’s Centre for Creativity, Gillman Barracks, Block 47 Malan Road, #01-23, Singapore 109444
What: This pop-up playground is ideal for children and their carers from three years old and up. Children can freely play with simple loose parts commonly found around the home: boxes, sheets, tubes, pots and pans, wooden spoons and rope. BYO Drinks, snacks, sunscreen and hats!
Cost: The Pop-Up Adventure Playground is free!

Entry to Playeum: $22 per child (aged 1-12), which includes an adult. You can come and go as you like between 10am-6pm. Head to HoneyKidsGo for a special rate of $17.60 if you book two tickets or more!

Photography: Chapter Zero