People have described run-down imaginations in numerous relatable ways, from writers’ block to procrastination to a lack of creative juices. While it may seem like your daughter’s ever-present imagination never falters, even she can suffer from an occasional bout of burnout. Help your young one overcome this frustrating slump and spark her imagination with these five strategies.
Five Ways to Spark Your Daughter’s Imagination
1. Visualize and manifest with a Vision Board
Part of the mental block to creativity stems from a lack of inspiration. It is hard to produce new art when nothing is kicking off the creative process. Enter vision boards!
A physical version of a Pinterest board, vision boards can be formatted to fit the individual and/or project. They are tangible and adaptable mediums for collecting pictures, quotes, etc. Have your girl get her scissors and glue ready – inspiration is about to strike (also, check out this collage practice video by our friend Sarah Greenman and our coverage of the book #futureboards).
- A small poster or canvas
- Magazines, newspapers, printed pictures (anything that you want to glue down)
- Glue or Modge Podge
Help your daughter cut out inspirational letters, phrases, logos, or pictures (also feel free to print any photos or images online). Let her arrange the pieces on her vision board. Glue all items down, then paint a layer of Modge Podge on top to give the board a nice varnish. Encourage her to play around with the layout before committing to the design permanently.
Hang on a wall or prop up on a desk to remind her of her dreams and goals!
2. Change locations
The COVID-19 lockdowns taught us that staying inside too much can be creatively draining. A change of scenery – or even stepping outdoors for half an hour – could work wonders. A 2020 study found that a daily change in location causes increased positive effects in humans, meaning the more variety in our everyday routines, the better our mood is.
Being surrounded by new sights and people can break up the monotony to initiate a wave of inspiration. Try changing up your daughter’s environment by taking her to a new park, exploring a local museum, or browsing the shelves of a library. Attend a local dance company’s performance or visit a nearby art studio. All these activities can help get creative magic flowing.
3. Have a dance party
It’s cheap, powerful, and effective. Turn on the music and move! Play your daughter’s favorite songs and encourage her to get up and groove. Exercise is known to release feel-good endorphins throughout the body, reducing stress. And when done regularly, movement can increase self-confidence and help everyone relax, allowing the mind to clear for creativity.
One 2013 study found increased convergent and divergent thinking (translation, problem-solving thinking) upon regularly exercising. Not only is mood increased, but problems become more easily figured out in innovative ways. So let the music spark those endorphins through an at-home concert, one that’s sure to usher in a flood of creative ideas.
4. Expose her to other creative mediums
Is your daughter an aspiring author? Encourage her to attend a local theater production. Have a budding Frida Kahlo? Give her a camera and ask her to snap a couple of photographs. Exposure to other creative mediums – or anything outside her “normal” routine – allows someone to approach their work from another perspective.
Looking at things through other mediums expands the imagination. A dancer may portray a character differently from an author writing about the same character. Artists learn from each revelation as they ponder the different portrayals, which could lead to more possibilities within their works. Lend the same idea to your daughter by opening her horizons past one form of creative expression.
5. Don’t force it
Given the previous four tips, this may seem counterintuitive, but do not force your daughter’s imagination. Let her decide her creative expression, whether through pretend play, painting, or photographs. Your daughter needs to know that she is in charge of her imagination, and the only way for her to embrace individuality is to allow her to venture alone. Creativity will come when your daughter needs it in various forms.
Also, don’t worry about how she expresses her imagination. Instead, acknowledge the process and many forms she chooses to use. She will thrive through encouragement and recognition as her individuality and creativity are validated. And you never know; a brilliant, newly inspired work may stem from the projects you gave her the space to explore.
Written by Brooke Weatherbie
Photo by Vlada Karpovich for Pexels
Second photo by Jill Wellington for Pexels