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Sep 1

Simple Ways to Support Kids’ Creativity (Even When It Doesn’t Make Sense)

by Meghan Fitzgerald

We’ve all been there. Our kids are working on a project or play task, and our adult minds can’t help but picture the final product… but what we see our kids doing looks nothing like what’s in our mind. 

It’s totally understandable. As grownups, our brains have become efficient machines, wired to get from point A to point B as quickly and with as much success as possible.

But, our kids are explorers, creators of knowledge, and they learn and grow at every stop along their playful journey. For them, the process of making is what matters, not the final product. Plus, they believe in themselves when they are the ones leading the way, no matter what they’ve created when they decide they’re finished.

So, whenever you can, step back and let kids be their own creative directors. Here’s how: 

For more short videos made to make you smile, laugh and maybe learn a little, too, check out our Just Between Us Grownups page! 

Start by shifting your focus

When you interact with your child, focus more on what they’re doing than versus what they’re making. Remember, we’re entering their world now and it’s important to let their creativity flow, even if it’s not lining up with what we had in mind.

Take a moment to think about how they’re approaching this project in their own special way. You can prompt them by saying, “Tell me about what you’re making” or, “Wow, could you show me how to make a rabbit like that?” 

You’ll be surprised how shifting your focus can help you see the value in their process—and it can even help attune kids to the many things they’re learning along the way, too. 

And, don’t be hard on yourself for wanting a rabbit to look like a rabbit...we get it.

Try these engaging DIY activities that help kids channel their creativity

An excellent way for kids to exercise this process is through DIY activities that encourage them to turn on their imaginations and let their creativity soar. 

  • Make a play snake. Snakes have such marvelous superpowers and kids can learn a lot from these slithering friends. Here are some ways to help kids be wise to the dangers of snakes but also appreciative of all that they have to offer!
  • Catching colors. Watching color splash up on a clear outdoor canvas, feeling it swirl and whirl around, and being welcome to have at it are all the makings for joyful, engaging play
  • Faces for the trees. What if trees had faces? Help your kids unpack that question while they make a mud pie by forming a fistful of mud into a patty and plopping it onto the bark of a tree.

Meghan Fitzgerald


After 20+ years as an educator, curriculum developer and school leader, Meghan has her dream gig—an entrepreneur/educator/mom who helps families everywhere, including hers, learn outside. Prior to Tinkergarten®, Meghan worked as an Elementary School Principal, a Math/Science Specialist & and a teacher in public and private schools in NY, MA and CA. She earned a BA with majors in English and Psychology at Amherst College, an MS in Educational Leadership at Bank Street College, and was trained to become a Forest School leader at Bridgwater College, UK. When she is with her kids, Meghan is that unapologetic mom who plays along with them in mud, dances in the pouring rain, and builds a darn good snow igloo with her bare hands.

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