Help kids discover that they can invent their own fun.

In this increasingly digital age where games come preloaded on devices of all kinds, it's important to help kids discover that they can invent their own fun. Here are some tips to help you nurture your child's creativity.

Ask your child open-ended questions. "Why do you think stop signs are red?" "If you could invent a new kind of car, what would it be?" Open-ended questions can be about anything, as long as there are no "wrong" answers. Be silly. Show your child through your own actions that imagination and creativity don't need to "make sense" to be time well spent. Create a box of props with old hats, briefcases, scarves, clipboards, etc., and encourage your children to put on plays. Play "What If" or "I Spy" games in the car or while shopping to help your child notice the surroundings and to think "outside the box." Have occasional "musical" mornings, when all conversation must be sung, not spoken and movements must be dance-like. Make sure your art supplies are in good condition and set aside time each week when all devices are turned off to encourage your kids to make things with their hands. Participate in art activities with your children and let them see you appreciating their creative efforts. Allow your children to build things out of food (after washing their hands, of course!) Pretzels, marshmallows, grapes and peanut butter can be great supplies for edible art work. Encourage your child to share his thoughts and creative projects with others, at home, with friends and even by submitting to Highlights and other magazines that publish children's work. If your kids do engage in digital activities, look for apps and websites designed to inspire creative thinking, such as Ele, the early learning environment at the Fred Rogers Center (

When you let loose and encourage your children to let their imaginations run wild, it will spark everyone's creativity. Have fun playing together!

-Kathleen Hayes is Editor of Highlights High FiveTM and Highlights HelloTM magazines. To learn more about Highlights products, please visit