5 Ways to Encourage Creative Play 5 Minutes for Mom Rachel here with some easy ways you can encourage your kids to get creative and use their imagination. This post is sponsored, so extra thanks for sharing. Kids learn so much from creative play, but with such a huge push for educational activities and extracurricular hobbies, I feel like creative play gets a bit lost in the shuffle. Some of my favorite memories from when I was a kid involve getting lost in creative play activities that really let me use my imagination. I’ve have tried to remember that with my own kids and provide plenty of opportunities for creative play opportunities. Here are 5 ways to encourage more creative play time for your children… 1. Avoid over scheduling. We don’t need to be busy all the time. Giving kids the opportunity to be bored and come up with their own entertainment allows them to grow in ways that structured activities just can’t. This can be a tricky one. I know, as a mom, I want to step in and give my kids something “productive” to do whenever we have down time but I have to stop myself because they come up with some amazing play opportunities when left to their own devices. Sometimes I just need to step back and let play happen. 2. Choose toys that encourage creative play. There are some great toys out there, but not all of them are great for creative play. I try to avoid toys that do the playing for my kids, like many electronic toys do. Dolls, toy food, building toys, and dress-up clothes are great for putting your child in the driver’s seat. My daughter has been playing with these cute little dolls from the Little Charmer’s TV series. She loves the show so it’s been fun for her to incorporate it into her play. She’s spent hours playing and I’ve been amazed at how many different ways she’s come up with to play. She’s brushed their hair, made up stories, put on a show, sang songs and more. I love watching how creative she gets when given the chance. 3. Don’t limit your child’s play. I’ll admit, I’m terrible about this. My kids will start playing with their toy kitchen and putting toy ice-cream in the oven and the OCD part of me kicks in and wants to tell them to put it in the toy freezer. That’s when I bite my tongue and just let them play. Telling them how to play completely defeats the purpose of creative play. I want them to figure out how they want to play. I want them to explore and learn and make mistakes. Maybe they are scientists and they have a new mutant ice-cream that has to be baked in the oven. Who knows? I just know that stepping in and correcting them or trying to guide their play too much interferes with their creative process. 4. Provide an environment that encourages play. It’s always funny to me that whenever I want to clean the house or declutter my kids suddenly want to play with toys they haven’t looked at in months. Part of it is they couldn’t find their toys in the mess but part of it is that by clearing out a space I have made room for creative play. I’ve read stories of moms getting rid of all but 10 toys in their playroom and suddenly their kids want to play all the time. You can encourage play by setting the stage a bit. Clear out the clutter. Make toys easy for your child to see and reach. Don’t do it all yourself. Definitely teach your child to pitch in and help. Having a nice, clean space to play makes it much more likely that play will happen. 5. Rotate toys. Too many toys can be overwhelming for kids. Actually, too many toys is a bit overwhelming to moms too. I keep half of our toys packed away at all times. This serves a few purposes. First, we don’t have to deal with a massive amount of toy clutter. More importantly though, my kids get more use out of their toys. Every time I bring out a box of toys it’s like Christmas morning. They all but forget about the toys while they are packed away so it’s like playing with them for the first time. When the new toys come out, the old toys get boxed up and stored in the garage for a month or so until we are ready to rotate again. Disclosure: This post is sponsored and Rachel received sample items for review. Written by Rachel Lister, blogger at Busy Mommy Media. This is an excerpt from the article 5 Ways to Encourage Creative Play which originally appeared on 5 Minutes for Mom.