Get Creative; It's Good For You

By FCPS & Fairfax County Government
July 30, 2020

Right now, we are staying home as much as possible and refraining from spending time with others in the ways we would have traveled or socialized in the past. Children and adults alike are experiencing higher levels of boredom and monotony. This is a perfect reason to undertake some creative pursuits, and there are many ways this goal might be achieved.

What is Creativity?

There are many definitions for creativity. The Oxford Dictionary defines creativity as “the use of skill and imagination to produce something new or to produce art.” Dictionary.com states that creativity is “the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.”  Or consider a less technical definition of how online blogger Sonia Simone defines creativity. “Just making something. It might be something crummy or awkward or not ready for prime time. If you make something, you are creative.”

Creativity is whatever you choose it to be and can be in individual pursuit or done as a family.

The Benefits of Creativity

First and foremost, creativity falls into self-care. Self-care has received significant support from research as an essential part of our lives, especially during times of high stress and anxiety. Creativity is linked to decreasing these negative emotional states. Being allowed to create may provide us with a sense of autonomy. As we establish ownership over something we create or fashion in some way, we gain a sense of control over a part of our lives leading to diminished stress. Creativity may occupy our minds with pleasurable tasks and provide a feeling of accomplishment; both are key aspects of lowering anxiety. In addition, engaging in creative activities as a family can help us build connections and community to promote increased well-being. 

Furthermore, creativity provides a path for which our children might choose to communicate. Their choice of topic (written, drawn, sung, or otherwise) may allow parents insights into their current ideas or priorities. Parents can see how their children engage in problem-solving during these tasks and may learn of their children’s hopes, preferences, worries, or concerns. Creative activities may allow parents to identify and build upon children’s strengths as well as foster avenues for conversation around their children's ideas. New paths for communication with your children will not only give you increased opportunities to help guide them, but also provide positive memories for your children of your interactions together.

Creative Ideas to Get You Started

  • Create artwork. Consider displaying family members’ artwork in an at home gallery.
  • Write a family newsletter. Everyone can contribute to different sections (such as news, opinions, advice columns, and reviews of movies, books, food, or video games). Consider sharing your newsletter with family and friends to further build connections.
  • Create an obstacle course. This may be done with physical objects or writing directions in chalk on the sidewalk. Obstacle courses also promote physical activity which further reduces stress and anxiety.
  • Have family theme days.  
  • Celebrate a holiday not on its traditional day
  • Have story book character days. Create costumes and read the associated stories. 
  • Learn about a county or culture. Listen to the traditional music, watch a related movie, learn a traditional dance, explore the artwork, and/or try a food item from this country or culture.
  • Create a music playlist and have a dance party. Consider choreographing a dance, either for individuals or the whole family. 
  • Build musical instruments and play as a family band.  
  • Write a song parody. You might even want to record it as a music video.  
  • Make up a scavenger hunt. Everyone can contribute items, or individuals can create lists of items for someone else to find. To make it more advanced or challenging, present items as riddles. These scavenger hunts can be done at home or walking through the neighborhood.  
  • Engage in mixed-medium building. Use LEGO, boxes, paper, books, or anything else around the house and create something, like a city or amusement park.  
  • Puppet shows or plays offer both arts and crafts and story creation in addition to performing.  
  • Create an episode (or more) of a cooking or baking show.  
  • Write a Mad Libs style story. Each person contributes sentences going around the circle to build a funny tale.  

Need More Information?

Summer FCPS Mental Wellness Consultations are Available

Any FCPS parent may request a 45-minute phone consultation with a school psychologist or school social worker. Parent consultations are available for all grade levels and student consultations are only available for students in middle and high school.

Healthy Minds is for parents, educators, and community-based providers who are interested in supporting student mental health and wellness. It represents a collaboration between FCPS’ Office of Intervention and Prevention Services and the Fairfax County Government. SUBSCRIBE to Healthy Minds and receive a periodic digest of our most recent articles.