By Lindsey Miske Wood at Raise With Love
Set Up The Environment
The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits. If it's not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well.
Simple Toys and Supplies
Research actually found children engaged more and formed more connections in the Brain when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys.
Schedule Free Time (or Don't Schedule)
Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal. See the article How Lazy Parents Win at Parenting for more information.
Give Children Space
Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more "needy." A child's emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo play.
Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it's a wand. Teach your children it's ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.