Raising creating kids. Thoughts on positive parenting and learning wild.

Raising Creative Kids with Positive Parenting and Helping them Learn Wild

Raising creative kids isn’t easy in our high-tech, screen-addicted culture. Yet, helping our kids foster their innate creativity is important!

Our next-door neighbors often remark that they love seeing our kiddos outside playing and how unusual this is. For Jenny and me, sending our kiddos outdoors is simply the norm. But this isn’t true for everyone and getting to this place where learning wild through outdoor play is the norm didn’t come easy.

To be totally transparent, time outside isn’t all our kids do. Our children have tablets, smartphones (at least our teens and pre-teens do), and their favorite Netflix series. The positive side is that we have found a balance. Technology is not going away. So, Jenny and I want to help our children learn to balance technology, friendships, outdoors, and family life. Right now is our opportunity to build into our kid’s lives in an incredibly positive way.

Today, both Jenny and I love helping our kids learn wild. This hasn’t always been easy. For Jenny, this involved letting go of some of her parenting fears and allowing our kids to embrace their creativity—even when it’s not 100% safe. For me, it’s been a process of understanding that raising creative kids sometimes means allowing our children be bored.

I once dreaded the words, “Daddy, I’m bored.” I’d put on my super-hero daddy cape and fly to the rescue. Now I’m learning to lean into them because this is when creativity forms. In fact, I even documented our journey in my book 131 Boredom Busters and Creativity Builders for Kids!

Raising Creative Kids

Recently, Jenny and I connected connect with Kristen Peterson, an early childhood education leader. Kristen has a passion for nature-based education and has dedicated her career to creating a new generation of bathtub grime. During our conversation, Kristen dove into positive parenting tips for raising creative kids. Kristen is working towards her Forest School Practitioner’s Certification. She also opened central Minnesota’s first forest school preschool, which makes her an expert on the topic of learning wild.

Kristen played an integral part in helping our own kiddos develop a love for the outdoors. So Jenny and I know that what she teaches works. Here are some of the insights we took away from Kristen’s talk at our Thriving at Home Summit!

Helping Our Kids Learn Wild

  • In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv describes what he calls Nature Deficit Disorder. Many parents point to time spent exploring the outdoors as some of their favorite memories. Yet, many adults are not providing these same outdoor opportunities to their kids. Too many organized activities and the hustle-and-bustle of life can prevent kids from exploring the outdoors and creating a childhood to remember.
  • Parents can start raising creative kids by doing things they normally do inside, outside. Not only is this less of a mess, but it also gets our kid’s imagination going.
  • One of the hardest, yet most effective things parents can do to raise creative kids is to put their kids outside and make them stay outside. This is difficult because kids may react with “I’m bored.” Yet, though boredom, imagination, and creativity take off.

Raising Creative Kids by Helping Them Push Though Boredom

  • Parents think they need to provide their kids with something to do. But this isn’t the case. Creativity is within our kids. If we allow them to push though boredom, they’ll find it.
  • If parents just let their kids be bored, they will eventually have a fantastic summer outside.
  • Too many organized activities can actually stress our kids out. This is something Jenny and I know personally because we witnessed this is our own kids.

Learning Through Play

  • Creative kids are kids who learned how to navigate boredom and come up with ideas without adults directing their play.
  • True play is being able to choose your own adventure.
  • Even adults play. One simple example of this picking up a book that’s interesting to us.
  • Kids learn risk management through play.
  • Parents can encourage their kids with the words “You can do hard things,” and “You can do big things.”
  • Instead of being a helicopter parent (who loudly hovers over his or her kids), encourage creativity by being a hummingbird parent. Quietly flutter in (to keep your kids safe when needed), then quickly flutter back out.
Raise creative kids by being a hummingbird and not a helicopter

Learning Through Play

  • Learning is intrinsic. And our children will learn things when they need to learn them.
  • Play can provide opportunities for real good learning versus rote memorization. Because when our kids need to figure something out, they will. In other words, play fosters creativity and learning.
  • Parents can encourage learning by setting up an environment for creativity. The good news is that nature has already provided a creative play environment for our kids. Rocks, sticks, trees, and mud are all opportunities for creative play.
  • When it comes to learning, parents don’t need to have all of the answers. Parents can foster a love for learning in their kids by learning along with them.
  • Many adults have the mentality that play is the fun that comes after the learning. But what if creative play is the learning?
Creative Kids - Play is the learning

The bottom line is that it is, indeed, possible to raise creative kids. Creative parents can raise creative kids, even in the midst of a pandemic!

Diving Deeper into Raising Creative Kids

I love Kristen’s passion for helping parents raise creative kids by helping them learn wild. If you’d like to dive deeper, you may want to check out the all-access pass to our Thriving at Home Summit and check out Kristen’s entire interview.

Thriving at Home Virtual Summit

For more great insights from the Thriving at Home Summit, be sure to check out the following posts:

Continuing the Conversation

Jenny and I would love to continue the conversation in the comments below!

  • What are you doing to raise creative kids and help your children learn wild?
  • Which of the positive parenting skills in this post resonated the most with you?
  • Which of these ideas have you already used, and which ones do you plan on putting into action?
  • What thoughts on raising creative kids would you add to this conversation?

Just add your thoughts to the comments below and know that we can’t wait to hear from you!

Jed Jurchenko

Jed Jurchenko is the husband to an incredible wife, daddy to four amazing girls, and a foster dad to one more. He's served as a children's pastor, marriage and family therapist, psychology professor, award-winning writing coach, and life coach. Jed is the author of 23 books on relationships, parenting, writing, and doing life well. In his free time, you'll find Jed reading, preparing for an upcoming marathon, barbecuing, paddle boarding, and enjoying life with his incredible family. Find out more about Jed's books, coaching, and courses at www.ithrive320.com.

2 thoughts on “Raising Creative Kids with Positive Parenting and Helping them Learn Wild”

  1. I completely agree that it is important to get children enjoying time outdoors and the best way to do that is to lead by example and take indoor activities outside. One of the things I really enjoyed with home-schooling while our schools were closed was being able to take our classroom outdoors and learn outside. Allowing space for boredom and opportunities for our children to create their own adventures and play is so important. It’s amazing how much children learn just through playing, exploring and being allowed to get muddy! Thanks for linking up to #CountryKids

    1. Awesome thoughts Louise! We’re homeschooling our two youngest this year, and it’s been quite the adventure. It really is fun seeing how much our kiddos are learning through extra time outdoors and added creative play. Do you have any advice for new homeschool parents?

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