Guest Blog: Ten Top Tips for Creativity by Jo Fitzgerald, Tiny Sponges

We are delighted to publish this Guest Blog from Jo Fitzgerald, experienced teacher, mum, blogger, author, and parent advisor, with many articles published in the media.
This is the first in a series of blogs that Jo will be sharing with us and also published on the Tiny Sponges website

Dr Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, joined a team of 55 international researchers in 2001, to research the question: “How can we help young people realise their full potential?” This led to research in what makes life worth living, how we experience a richer life, how we reach optimal well-being and how we can become the best version of ourselves. Thus, followed three years of research, which resulted in the identification of the 24-character strengths used by mankind.

This series of blogs helps you understand the 24 scientifically proven character strengths, which help mankind’s wellbeing and quality of life across the globe

Strength #1 Creativity – 10 Tips for Fostering Creativity in your Children

Creativity is a really important strength to have somewhere in your toolbox! It’s important to understand that creativity isn’t simply limited to art/music/drama … — it is also vital for science, maths, and even social and emotional intelligence. Being creative means that people are more flexible in their thinking and are better problem solvers. This is so important in helping them with life – and with work opportunities, as they can easily adapt to technological advances and deal with and manage change. It’s a strength which is a key to success in nearly everything we do, creativity is a key component of wellbeing and happiness and an important resilience skill to help promote in children.

Many people assume that creativity is something that you are born with, a gift. But actually, creativity is more skill than inborn talent, and it’s a skill that parents can help their child develop.

I really feel that there is a danger that children of today don’t need to be as imaginative, and therefore, as creative, as older generations. The availability of manufactured toys and games often means that children don’t get the opportunity to make believe that chopstick is a fairy wand, or that branch is a knight’s sword. Similarly, academic expectations often dominate free time, along with a packed schedule of after school and weekend activities. Leaving little time for creativity or imagination.

As a parent, and teacher, I know the importance of play, of down-time. The value of a bored child inventing a game to keep them amused. The importance of living in an environment where imagination and creativity are both prized and enabled.

Here are 10 tips for fostering creativity in your children:

  1. Provide time and resources for creative expression. Children are at their creative best when left alone to play, with no adult or older sibling to tell them what to do.
  2. After time comes space! Not every parent is happy with mess – and creative play can get messy and untidy. The best solution to this is to provide your child with a creative space where they know they can be messy, without being worried.
  3. Creative gifting. How many plastic dolls or superhero models does a child need? Really? For birthdays and Christmas, ask people to give creative presents – coloured paper, pens, paint, modelling materials, dressing up props, building materials … Add these to your creative space.
  4. Value creativity and innovation yourself. Put up artwork around the house, visit museums and galleries – the library too. Have music in your house – share your favourite songs and musicians with each other. Get younger children playing tambourine, maracas, drumming on saucepans and plastic storage boxes along to songs. Expose them to popular music, but also classical, opera – music from around the world. Encourage photography, let them use your phone, a tablet – or get them a cheap camera to experiment with. Look at buildings. Go to the theatre and cinema and talk about what you’ve seen. Embrace new technology and let your children see you using it. Encourage new interests.
  5. Encourage creativity. Let children plan part of your weekend “What can we do that we haven’t done before?” or plan an evening of family creativity where you all make or do something together.
  6. Let children know that it’s ok to fail and to make mistakes. They will learn that best if you model that yourself. Children who are afraid of failure and ridicule often avoid any creative activity. If a child doesn’t feel confident and secure to make mistakes – it can really curb their creativity.
  7. Value creativity and innovation yourself. Put up artwork around the house, visit museums and galleries – the library too. Have music in your house – share your favourite songs and musicians with each other. Get younger children playing tambourine, maracas, drumming on saucepans and plastic storage boxes along to songs. Expose them to popular music, but also classical, opera – music from around the world. Encourage photography, let them use your phone, a tablet – or get them a cheap camera to experiment with. Look at buildings. Go to the theatre and cinema and talk about what you’ve seen. Embrace new technology and let your children see you using it. Encourage new interests.
  8. Read, read, read! Buy books, read books, display books around the home, borrow books from the library, look at illustrations, talk about the writing, the rhyming, the stories. “What happens next?” “What would be a good ending?” tell each other stories, make them up – the sillier the better!
  9. Don’t be a helicopter parent! You don’t need to be in control of their every minute, their every activity, they don’t need to be in your sight every second. Loosen up! It’s ok if they colour outside the lines, make mistakes putting that Lego model together. Constant direction and interruption can interfere with the thinking and doing process. Along with this goes extra activities and classes that you sign your child up for. Are they REALLY enjoying the piano lessons two years in, or is it something YOU want them to do? Creativity is halted when the enjoyment isn’t there.
  10. Have discussions. Ask children what they think about things that have happened, encourage individual thought and opinion. Let them know that it’s OK to have different opinions and to disagree with each other. Talk about problems, worries – real or imaginary, encourage them to find a way of solving the problem “Is there another way we could solve this? What else could we do?” Problem solving is a very creative process and thinking ‘outside the box’ is valuable in life and in work situations. Microsoft and Apple look for creativity in their employees – it improves finding solutions and accelerates innovation.

All these things and more, put into practice, will give your children an environment that allows them to explore and embrace creativity. It’s such a vital character strength which can really enhance life experience.


About Jo Fitzgerald

Jo FitzGerald is on a mission to inform, discuss and support all things robust mental health for our children.

She has worked in the Education sector all her life from teaching Special Educational Needs in Dubai, being a Deputy head teacher of a Pupil Referral Unit in the South of England, to running a Nursery School for The British Council in Oman.

She runs a social media group for parents, ‘Tiny Sponges’ helping parents learn more about emotional well-being and resilience skills.

Jo is also a mum, blogger and writes articles for parenting magazines and is the author ofHow To Keep Safe… in a sometimes scary world and a children’s Christmas story calledCold Toes at Christmas and more recently has featured in Mumpreneur on Fire: 4′ a long awaited sequel by Mums in Business, where she tells her whole story for the first time, along with 24 other women who have faced tragic, horrendous and difficult life events – and come through the other side.

She has also collaborated with Danish educationalist Louise Tidmand, to bring her range of Positive Mindset resources into UK schools and families.

She has a real overwhelming passion for relating to children of all ages. She loves the science of development, the wonder of development, the joy of seeing children learn, explore, create and become.

Connect with Jo

Website – Tiny Sponges

Website – Jo Fitzgerald

Facebook – Jo Fitzgerald

Facebook Group – Tiny Sponges

Twitter – @TinySponges

Instagram – @tinysponges


Jo’s Books on Amazon

How To Keep Safe: …in a sometimes scary world

Children worry about scary situations. What if I get lost? What if there is a fire? What if…?
‘How To Keep Safe…’ is a book for 4-9-year olds and their parents to share. It’s a gentle, illustrated, rhyming story of a boy, his dog and his family. Together, they talk about what to do in case of getting lost, being in a home fire, or getting caught up in a dangerous event.

The family makes plans around keeping safe, knowing that bad things will probably never, ever happen. But just in case – they’ll know what to do. The book helps ease worry and anxiety in children and opens difficult conversations between parent and child over potential dangers and their feelings connected with this.

Also included is an extensive parent’s guide with suggested questions parents can ask, how to talk about feelings and ideas for making plans and rules together.

‘How To Keep Safe…’ has the power to help worried children, bring families together, and make plans that will them all safe.

Click here to view in our Online Shop


Cold Toes at Christmas

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Holidays are often when we try to be together, but it’s not always possible.

In some cases, one or more parent is working over Christmas – nurses, police, sailors, and many more. In other cases, families that once were together are now living apart. In these cases, children may look at Christmas with sadness and longing. But there is hope!

In this delightfully illustrated story, Grandma tells her little ones about a Christmas she remembers, when she was very young, in her home far away. She was feeling sad and lonely and knew her Mum was sad too. She wanted things to be better – and if you throw a wish up to the sky, who knows what might happen?!

A magical story of love, wonder, imagination, hope, and Santa as you’ve never seen him before!

Our lives aren’t always perfect, but if we are loved and if we have hope, if we believe – well, that makes us stronger.

And, especially at Christmas, we all need to believe – don’t we?

Click here to view in our Online Shop


Mumpreneur On Fire 4: 25 Inspirational Real Life Stories From Empowered Women

by Mums in Business Association

Mumpreneur on Fire 4 is the much anticipated follow up to #1 bestseller Mumpreneur on Fire 3 released in late 2018.

Battling through depression, child loss, bereavement, suicide and more these 25 inspirational women share with you how they became successful mumpreneurs against all odds!

“In the book I tell my whole story for the first time. Warts and all. Along with 24 other women who have faced tragic, horrendous and difficult life events – and come through the other side.” Jo Fitzgerald

Click here to view in our online shop

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