When it comes to encouraging our children to step away from the screens and get involved in a creative activity it is sometimes easier said than done.

According to new research, almost 92 per cent of Aussie parents believe when their kids are using their creativity it has a positive effect on their mental health.

The study, commissioned by Cricut, also found more than half (51%) of Australian parents saw negative differences in their children’s behaviour when playing video games and 37 percent saw negative differences in their little one’s demeanor when watching TV or YouTube videos.

How can parents help their children to embrace their creativity while educating them at the same time?

Artist, designer and illustrator Beci Orpin says, “Everything a child does from the moment they wake up to the moment they rest their head at night is teaching them important lessons and improving their developmental skills. Arts and activities are no exception.”

Cricut is the leader in crafting technology that lets people design, create, and personalise with its smart cutting machines.

According to the Australian Governments ‘Belonging, Being and Becoming’ Framework, this form of creative play allows children to develop fine motor skills, practise patience, and encourages them to remain focused on a particular task.

Beci has been working with Officeworks on their Never Stop Creating campaign and shares her five top creative ideas to help keep kids entertained and educated.

Beci Orpin is a Melbourne-based designer, illustrator and maker who is known for her geometric designs and gorgeous use of colour.

1. Recycled materials

Creative play allows children to explore unfamiliar scenarios, whilst also supporting the development of their imagination. Using recycled materials can assist in doing just this, as children come up with ideas on what they can make using household items. You could use a shoebox and paint to make a house, or egg cartons and pipe cleaners to create flowers. This activity will encourage problem-solving, decision making and all-round creative skills.

2. Sorting games

Separating objects according to similarities and differences children to develop a range of thinking and problem-solving skills. Try sorting beads in colours and sizes, and then threading them onto some string. This promotes recognition of colours, sizes and also fine motor skills.

3. A self-portrait

Grab your pencils and get drawing on coloured pieces of paper. This creative activity can encourage self-expression, help develop fine motor skills and also more complex things like recognising emotions.

4. Colouring books

Making art doesn’t always have to involve an epic crafternoon. Simple activities like colouring provide children with opportunities to develop their fine motor skills, such as learning to colour in between the lines. It also provides an opportunity to practice and develop concentration and coordination.

5. Shape and colours

Identifying shapes and colours is a great way to give children some vocabulary about the world around us. It helps children to understand concepts like shape, size and space. Learning to sort and categorise will also assist them with essential  problem-solving techniques.

Creating a finished or perfect product isn’t important here. The key thing is for your child to build new skills and explore their thoughts through creation.