Creative Play In Children: What is it and why is it important

Imagine you give a set of random objects to your child and she plays with it for a good amount of time. Long enough you could get things done or long enough to keep her quiet while the baby naps.
And what if … you can get the same effect every time you need your child entertained?

Yes, it is possible.

And the best part, these are super efficient alternatives for screen time.
So if your children are often bored and get to use screens for entertainment, then continue reading.

You may be surprised how easy is to set up screen-free activities without any special ‘creative skills’ or expensive supplies.

So, yes, creative play is a simple solution for boredom and a great alternative to screen-time.

What is creative play?

Creative play is any activity that includes expressing a child’s creativity and imagination.

Creative play is often hidden behind the term open-ended play or open-ended activities. Meaning, that a kind of play doesn’t have a specific end outcome or result. The result can be anything your child creates.

What is important to know, opposite to common beliefs, children don’t need to be entertained. If you give them the right setting, designated space and time, they will figure out what to do on their own. Play is something kids love to do by their nature.

Children love being creative if they’re given the chance.

Why is creative play important for children?

Creative play fosters creativity and imagination in young kids. Encouraging creative play activities you are actually developing a love of the creative process in your child that will set excellent foundations for being a creative thinker and open-minded human.

Creative play activities are simple, yet, bring many benefits to a child:

  • encourages creativity
  • boost imagination
  • help in fine motor development
  • improves logical thinking
  • expands vocabulary
  • stimulates senses
  • has learned through play element

Encouraging creativity in your child doesn’t need to be expensive, but it is important that you have some basic equipment available  and/or learning toys that fit the child’s developmental milestones

Things like crayons, paints, coloured paper, scissors, and glue should be basics in your creative play box, but there are hundreds of other things you can include as well. In our family, our favourite are household objects, like paper cups, paper plates, cupcake liners, and all the recyclables from our recycling bin.
Also, drama, music and dance require very little of supplies.

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What are the creative play activities?

  • Building
  • Arts (exploring different tools, elements, techniques, and different art supplies)
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Collaging or just experimenting with combining different elements
  • Crafts
  • Dancing
  • Singing
  • Playing instruments
  • Reading and storytelling
  • Imaginative and role play also called pretend play
  • Gardening
  • Baking
  • Household chores (there is no child who doesn’t wanna try to mimic their parent doing house chores)

As you can see, creative play can be anything from drawing or building to dancing or baking. Really, any activity that engages a child’s creativity, encourages experimenting, developing skills, learning and/or stimulating senses.
Inviting children to express their creativity with different tools brings their imagination and creativity to the surface.

So next time you are tempted to pull out a screen for entertainment, pull out this list of creative play ideas and you will finally be able to get some stuff done while your child is doing their job – playing.

And don’t forget to nourish your creative side too because you are your child’s greatest role model. For example, using paint-by-numbers kits you can discover your new talents plus it is a great way to relieve some daily stress. As your child grows older you can have regular coloring and painting sessions together as a way to spend time one on one.

If you find this useful, please take a moment and share it with other parents who may struggle with finding alternatives for screen time.

What is creative play in children and why is it important

Lily Zunic

I believe every person is creative and every craft project is beautiful when you create for the journey of your heart.


  1. Henry | 14th Aug 19

    All kids of creative play are amazing. They are the key resources in a knowledge-driven world of kids. hank you for sharing Lily.

    • Lily Zunic | 19th Aug 19

      You’re welcome. It’s all about what and how much we invest in our kids.

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