“Imagination is not a talent of some men, but it is the health of every man.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Attention to Creativity is in Demand

Creativity leads to curiosity, adaptability, and a willingness to break out of the box; all of these traits are central to critical thinking and inventiveness. When children are offered and encouraged to pursue creative play and activities free from strict or representational guidelines, they are more likely to create new and unexpected solutions. Environments which support creativity, discovery, and creative expression instill self-confidence in children and make them more self-aware.

Being creative, in and of itself, doesn’t have rules to follow or specific outcomes to meet. It merely involves tapping into your well of imagination to explore new thoughts and ways of thinking, and to find new ways of expressing yourself or interpreting the world around us.

Through art and creative pursuits children can learn to identify colors, cause-and-effect, shapes, problem solving, sharing, and cooperation, among many other skills.

Zines are a great way for anyone to combine your interests and creativity into a sharable or keepsake project to close out the summer.

What is Creativity?

What pops into your mind when you see or hear the word creativity?

Painting, drawing, and music.

How about working with clay, wire, wood, paper, fabric, or yarn? Writing or photography? Making collages?

Creativity comes in many forms and centers on expressing yourself, your perceptions and thoughts on the world, and your interpretation of art in your own way. It is not anchored to age or some external standard of creative ability. Art allows people to feel special and good about themselves.

Let your brain, and your child’s, both wander and wonder.

Creativity Without Rules

Some of the best ways to foster creativity are free. Coloring books and craft projects impose an expectation on the finished product. On the other hand, blank paper and crayons can go a long way toward sparking your child’s imagination and creative spirt through exploration. This type of free creativity can allow for different outcomes. The essence of art is expressing yourself; and self-expression can provide validation and increase self-esteem.

Encouraging Creativity

  1. Don’t follow directions
  2. Choose materials carefully
  3. Don’t ask, “What is it?” (art doesn’t have to be about representation)
  4. Take risks
  5. Don’t limit art to art lessons
  6. Know the difference between “arts” (the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination) and “crafts” (an activity involving skill in making things by hand)

There are many ways to encourage creativity, in your child and others. These suggestions are by no means rules, but often, as parents, we can forget to step back and let our children take the lead in their own forms of expression.

An “Interest”-ing Idea

One common trait about all of us is that we all have interests. This project idea doesn’t require any particular skill set, merely a topic that your child enjoys.

Zines have been around for more than 50 years, and there really are no rules about what a zine is. They are paper and digital, large and small; they contain words, art, pictures, and/or doodles. A zine can be stories told with pictures from magazines, drawings and poetry, or doodles and directions on how to make your grandmother’s old family recipe. Zines are a way for a person to get their voice out into the world.


The summer is coming quickly to a close, and making a zine with your child could be a unique way for to share what they did over the summer break, or to discuss an interest that is important to them, or just to tell a story. Zines can be very personal, or more about sharing information than artistic skill.

All you need is a piece of paper and some creativity. There are no rules.

Here is an example from the Small Science Collective, entitled Meeting a Giant Octopus.