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6 Questions that Encourage Playful Art Experiments

Do you ever find yourself saying any of these on repeat while your kid is creating:

⭕️ Oh Wow! So cool!

⭕️ Nice job!

⭕️ That’s creative.

If so, you’re not alone! 

While you’re absolutely cheering them on with these confidence-boosting phrases, you might be missing an opportunity to encourage creative thinking, wondering, envelope-pushing, and experimentation.

On the other hand, open-ended questions that connect to specific things children are exploring, invite them to wonder, while pushing them to think like inventors, artists, and scientists. 

But even when we know this to be true, these words can also be really hard to think of in the moment 🤦‍♀️

Don’t worry, these open-ended question starters can help.

Instead, try some of these questions next time, and watch how kids get more engaged, think more deeply, and experiment more freely:

❇️ What might happen if…..?

❇️ What ideas do you have for…?

❇️ How could it look different if….?

❇️ I wonder what will happen if….?

❇️ What other ways can we…?

❇️ How can we/you use…..?

These questions are guided by curiosity and focus on the process of creation, rather than a final product. They are also excellent ways to help kids get comfortable taking creative risks. 

How do you do this? 

⓵ Notice what they’re doing, what they’re curious about, and what materials they’re playing with.

② Ask yourself: What could I focus on to push their thinking and curiosity?

⓷ Choose one of these question-starters, and try it. 

⓸ If it falls flat, try it in a different way, or try another question.

The next time your child is at the art table, helping you cook, or building something, try using one of these question starters to encourage life-long curiosity. And, please, let me know how it goes! 

(Also, if this is their 6th project of the day and your morning coffee is still sitting on the counter freezing cold, it’s okay to fall back to the usual, “Nice job!” We’re all human 🤷‍♀️ Process over perfection applies to the grown ups too. Give it a try when you’re in the headspace for it.)

Looking for more ways to encourage your child’s creativity while saving time? Sign up for TinkerLab’s Create & Connect Family Workshop and start making art memories together 💕

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