Many people think that creative people are naturally gifted. This is not true at all. All of us are born with the same creative levels. The steps our parents take after that determine our creative development. Creativity is a very vast concept, in this article, I have tried to bring out the relationship between stages of creativity & stages of creative development in children.

Stages of creativity

A lot of the creative work we do happens when we are not thinking about it or not necessarily working on it. There are 4 steps that are involved in the creative process. These are:

Preparation – 

This process involves observing one’s surroundings and drawing inspiration from it. It involves absorbing every piece of knowledge that is around you. It can be from movies, news, nature, books or even by talking to people. By doing this step, we create a pool of information in our brain from which we can draw ideas later.

Incubation – 

During this process, our mind needs to be off the project or thing we are doing or the idea we are working on. Basically, this step says that you give your mind some rest and let it connect the dots subconsciously. You might have observed that you work better on that important presentation when you get a good sleep or let your mind rest for some time.

Illumination – 

This is when the classic “YEAHH!!” moment happens when you come up with an idea or a solution from nowhere. It actually because of the Preparation and Incubation process that our mind starts associating and relating thoughts to give us ideas or solutions.


As the name suggests, it is the process where you verify or check the ideas you have come up with. This is the stage where we look back on our ideas, criticize them and make improvements if needed.


What is creative development?

If I have to explain creative development in the simplest terms, it is doing activities or engaging oneself in the activities that promote creativity. Creative development means performing activities that basically speed up your creative process. 

Creative development is very important for each and every kid. It’s not like some kids are born creative and some are just duds. The difference is that some kids are exposed more to the activities that are oriented towards creative development. 


Stages of creative development in children

We have discussed the steps of the creative process above. Creative development kids also follows the same process essentially. Creative development in children happens over the years. You can call it the extended version of a creative process that they will follow when they start understanding things. Let’s get into the stages and understand this concept better.

Stage 1 ( infancy to age 2)

This period can be related to the preparation step of the creative process. In this period, babies observe each and every object around them. Wherever you take them, they are constantly observing. They take in each and every piece of information. From everything they touch or feel, to everything they hear. This creates a pool of information in their tiny brains. The incubation step is constantly going on as they sleep most of the time. 


Stage 2 (Age 3)

At this age, kids start understanding how to use representational thought. It is the ability to represent real-world objects through their actions. It may be through their stories, drawings, acting, singing it can be anything. Thanks to the preparation stage and the incubation they have a pool of ideas and experiences from which they can draw ideas. During this stage, kids will draw or scribble something they have in their minds. But most of the time its just random scribbling or some random shape. 


Stage 3 (Age 3 to 5)

The eureka moment. The moment of illumination. The moment when they can formulate that perfect story or that perfect drawing of a banana. For them, that is the “YESS!!” moment, the moment where they explained their ideas or thoughts. 

It can be the most amazing moment for your kid. 

Until this stage, children go through some physical development also. Thanks to this, their motor skills are improved providing them more control over their movements. They can speak better, express better, draw better, etc.  Kids are really creative with everything they do. After reaching this stage, children start relating to their surroundings faster as they have mastered the preparation and incubation stage. 


Stage 4 (Age 5 & above)

This stage is where they start verifying their ideas or the artworks that they create. They may verify it themselves or rely mostly on the elders in their families or their teachers in school. In this stage, their creative development is most vulnerable to the static ideas of society.  


Few Steps to promote Creative Development in Children

Space for creative development

  • Make a creative space: Providing children a space where they can themselves, do whatever they want is important for creative development. This space need not be a whole room but can be as small as a corner in your bedroom. It should be stuffed with books, art & craft materials, musical instruments, etc. let them make their own pieces of art, don’t stop them until they are damaging the materials or the space. 


  • Support hobbies: Another really important step towards promoting creative development is to support hobbies. Introduce your children to different activities like singing, dancing, sports, or anything that involves thinking or creating something. This will train their brains to think creatively, have a different perspective. 


  • Have storytelling sessions: Kids love stories. They love listening to different stories or experiences, that’s how they learn things at an early age. Kids when they are 3 or 4 start forming complete sentences. This is where their storytelling journey begins. Even explain their day at the school is a story. They might add or subtract a few things from the story, but that’s just being creative.


  • Don’t stop them from finding their own solutions: Let them find solutions to everyday problems on their own. It may take a while but they will figure it out. You should definitely guide them but you should not solve the problems for them.


  • Have open-ended discussions: Have open-ended discussions at the dinner table. Your questions can be like, What would you do if you could fly. Or what if we were living underwater with the fishes? It has to be something where the discussion can go in multiple directions. This will help you in understanding their perspectives too.


For more steps & ideas check out our article: Simple Ideas to Boost Creativity in Children.



It is true that as adults, some of us are more creative than others. Creativity is not something that is gifted to you, it has to be nurtured. There are countless studies that have proven that adults who are more in touch with their creative side or have a lot of hobbies are happier than those who don’t have hobbies. The development of creativity starts in early childhood, you should support it as much as you can.