Sometimes, the best way to encourage creativity is to simply watch your children, take their cues, and participate fully in whatever they’re doing. My son’s most current favorite game is the perfect example. He dug out an old Backgammon case and spent a couple of hours drawing and cutting out the most detailed monster pictures he’s ever drawn (they’re friendly monsters). Then, asked me to write down several characteristics of each moster. For example, the Fish-Type monster can swim in water or lava, and its teeth are sharper than diamonds! The non-strength type (aka, Wimpy) can only lift something as large as a pedometer (you know…those thingies you clip to your waistband to count steps). One of the monsters eats great white sharks!

Now my son keeps all of his monsters in the case for whenever he wants to play monster store. Sometimes, that means just sitting and drawing new monsters. At other times, he wants me to be his customer. I play the ignorant mother who is buying a monster for the first time, and he loves it when I’m amazed by his monsters’ super powers! He takes his moster store everywhere, carrying it like a briefcase, and we’ve already had tons of fun playing with it! I’m confident that the traveling monster store will be around for a long time! This incredibly fun and creative game was completely his idea; I’ve only enjoyed the ride, and participated whenever and however he wanted me to.

Kids love old cases and containers. Think twice before throwing away that well-worn briefcase, suitcase, or duffle bag. Instead, let your child play with it awhile. You’ll be surprised how much love and excitement your child will show for this “new” toy. And you, as a parent, will have a front-row seat to watch your child’s creativity blossom! Prepare for the most fun adventures ever!