Get Moving: Physical Activity Boosts Creativity for Kids - Bay Area Discovery Museum

Get Moving: Physical Activity Boosts Creativity for Kids

Get Moving: Physical Activity Boosts Creativity for Kids

We’ve all been stumped by a problem where we had to step away and move around for the answer to present itself. Even the famous philosopher Henry David Thoreau described this phenomenon as, “The moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow—as if I had given vent to the stream at the lower end and consequently new fountains flowed into it at the upper.”

Oftentimes the simple act of physical movement helps us overcome mental blocks and sparks the creative juices—and the same can be true for children. According to a growing body of research, physical movement enhances learning, memory retention, focus, positive emotions, and creative insight.

As a parent, there are many ways you can promote action and movement for your child. Here are 3 ways to foster physical movement and creative thinking for your little one.

1. Make Time for Unstructured Physical Play

Even if your child is on an organized team sport, make time for them to engage in unstructured physical play like pickup basketball at the park. In a study by the University of Texas at Austin and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, researchers found that a balance of formal and informal sports correlates to increased creativity.

2. Be an Advocate for Active Learning

In your child’s schooling, advocate for recess and physically active learning in the classroom. Active movement in the classroom can help kids experience deeper learning. During out of school time, take your child to museums and play spaces that promote movement and physical activity.

3. Play Physical Movement Games

Get moving too! Play physically active games at home with your child. For example, you can play Creativity Catapult’s Walk the Talk, a movement game where kids are challenged to use their bodies to walk across a room like a specific animal. (Click here for step-by-step instructions for Walk the Talk activity.)

More Activities for Kids

Visit, the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s online collection of free activities that promote creativity development in children ages 2 to 14. The free resource features 80 activities that can be filtered by age, topic, number of participants, level of difficulty, duration of time, and skill.

About the Contributor
Helen Shwe Hadani, Ph.D., is Head of Research at the Center for Childhood Creativity at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, where she authors original research on creative thinking and child development.