Encourage Creativity—and Empathy—in Kids with These Items

Creativity and empathy are some of the most important skills to nurture in children, and each significantly contributes to the other. When you take a social and emotional approach to an otherwise more academic lesson or teaching, children can broaden their perspectives and avoid being passive receivers of information at home or school.

While there are many ways to help children learn creativity and empathy, you can help foster these traits simultaneously with the help of appropriate tools that you and your child can enjoy. Here are some items that can help encourage creativity and empathy in kids:

Photography can be an excellent way for children to explore creative ways of
capturing the world around them while also helping them connect and empathize
with their subjects.

A digital camera can be great for older kids and teens who can benefit from more
advanced gear, and they come in a range of shapes, sizes, styles, and
capabilities that suit your child’s needs and style. A versatile model like the
Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 provides excellent photo and video capabilities that your
child can use to their advantage when exploring their creative edge.

Younger kids also have special cameras made with them in mind, so they’re
easier to handle while still being a lot of fun. There are several on the market. I
use the VTech KidiZoom PrintCam, a child-friendly instant camera that lets kids
take photos and print them out, allowing them to hold onto special moments they
can look back on and learn from.

You’d be surprised, but the ever-popular plushies are tools that build creativity and empathy. You and your child can use these soft toys to develop stories and worlds and have them react to certain situations as the characters of their toys. Plushies can also represent the child or someone else, and you can act out specific scenarios that push kids to think creatively while staying attentive to others’ feelings. 

Certain plushies are also made for navigating emotions, allowing kids to foster empathy even further.

Plushies like Kimochis come with mini plush emotions that kids can use to identify their feelings or point them out in others. These meaningful toys can help them distinguish between specific emotions so they can better articulate what they need or help them be more aware of how others are feeling. Another benefit to plushies is that kids of all ages can enjoy them, even well into adulthood. A child with empathy and creativity can find great use and care for them for years to come.

Chalkboards or whiteboards
Image credit: Pexels Source: https://images.pexels.com/photos/8923027/pexels-photo-8923027.jpeg
Chalkboards and whiteboards may seem old-school, but they can help children develop creativity and empathy without looking at a screen. Kids get to explore and expand their creative skills and thinking through visual art, but when they aren’t using it to draw their favorite things, they can be used to explore emotions and communicate feelings and needs. If your child is having trouble communicating verbally, drawing or writing how they or others feel can help them be more open to discussing emotions and building empathy and emotional intelligence.

They also present a chance for kids to work collaboratively with parents and
other kids like siblings, relatives, or playmates. Using chalkboards or whiteboards can help them work together with others or see things from another’s perspective.

Younger kids can work with a small easel like a double-sided chalkboard,
allowing two kids to simultaneously work on their own creative endeavors. An
alternative is dry-erase or whiteboard paint, which can be used to cover a whole
wall and turn it into a whiteboard. Having an entire wall as a drawing surface can
be used by more people at once, and they’re great for older kids who may want a
bigger surface to work on.

Rhyslinn Johannah is a freelance writer who enjoys exploring topics on child development and education. She hopes to spread awareness and offer guidance to parents and educators to help create a safer, friendlier world for kids. When she's not writing, she enjoys traveling with her husband and children.