Family Life

What Are the Best Gifts to Encourage Creativity?

Do you have a budding artist in your life? Is your social circle filled with wildly creative folks? Are you just worried that the kids spend too much time playing video games and aren’t exploring their own creative skills enough? 

Gifts that encourage creativity and spur freedom of expression can become the most beloved. Not only do they show that you’ve paid attention to your loved one’s interests, but they manage to combine “usefulness” with “fun.” That makes them much better than another knickknack or a Roomba.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got tons of ideas. Whether the intended recipient is seven or 70, here are some of the best gifts for the creative folks in your life.

Art Supplies Galore

One of the most classic (and most effective) ways to inspire creativity is through the gift of art supplies. A beautifully curated set of high-quality colored pencils, sketchbooks or paints can unleash all kinds of artistic expressions. 

Consider the recipient’s preferred medium – whether it’s drawing, painting or mixed media – and tailor your purchases accordingly. If you don’t know what they prefer, there are tons of gift sets available right now that include a variety of art supplies that will make a creative kid’s eyes light up when they see it. Just make sure that you also supply plenty of paper or canvases and a few brushes, as well. If your gift is for someone who already has a lot of art materials, consider a gift card to their favorite art supply store, as it’s guaranteed to be appreciated!

Mind-Expanding Books

Books have the power to help readers explore new worlds and deepen their perspectives. The gift of books is one of the best ways to nurture someone’s creativity. 

Look for titles like “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon, which talk about how people can tap into their own creative juices – or “You Are an Artist” by Sarah Urist Green, which gives readers assignments that are designed to spark new ideas. There are countless books that can open the mind and ignite the creative spark within. If you’re not sure what someone would like, pick up a beautifully designed journal and a good set of pens and encourage the recipient to start recording their dream, their ideas or their history (to preserve for others).

Brain-Teasing Puzzles

Engage your loved one’s mind with puzzles and brain teasers that encourage problem-solving and creative thinking. 

Whether it’s a challenging jigsaw puzzle, an intricate puzzle box, or a set of brain teasers, these gifts provide an entertaining way to stimulate the brain and foster the innovative, “out of the box” kind of thinking that can lead to inspiration.

One of the nicest things about puzzles and brain teasers is that they can easily turn into group projects, which makes them ideal if you’re looking for that perfect gift that someone can share with a friend. You can also find puzzles that have tie-ins to things that the recipient likes, whether that’s “The Lord of the Rings” or Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”

Amazing Origami or Quilling Kits

Origami and quilling are paper crafts that have a long, long history. They require very little space and because they’re easy to start, stop and pick back up where the artist left off, they are a wonderful form of artistic expression for busy people.

Origami is the art of folding paper to make complex shapes, including flowers, birds and animals, and it has roots that go back at least to feudal Japan. Origami kits and paper can be very inexpensive (which makes them perfect if you’re worried about your budget). Paper quilling involves rolling, shaping and gluing paper strips into unique, decorative designs and has its roots in the religious orders common to Renaissance Europe. Starter kits are easy to find and very modest in price.

Tasty Cooking Classes

Creativity isn’t just limited to artistic expression. If you’ve ever watched someone bake or craft a fine meal, you know that there can be true artistry and expressiveness happening in every dish.

Consider giving your loved one a gift certificate to a cooking class. Circle City Sweets can show them how to make genuine French Macarons or flaky, buttery croissants. Perhaps they would prefer to learn how to make delicate (and delicious) sushi rolls through Cozymeal and the Sushi House

Even a rather experienced chef could pick up a thing or two from Gordon Ramsay (yes, the Gordon Ramsay) through his online MasterClass – and those who like to indulge in spirits can learn how to make their own cocktails from a professional mixologist.

Innovative Tech Items

Hand the right piece of technology to someone and you may gift them exactly what they need to fully unleash their inner artist. 

If you have a fairly generous budget, an iPad and an Apple Pencil will thrill your favorite artist, writer, inventor or graphic designer, allowing them to easily create on the go. Do you know someone who is wildly creative but constantly distracted? Buy them noise-canceling headphones that will allow them to tune out the world and get in their comfort zone. Want to blow their minds and open a door to a whole new skill? Try the 3Doodler Pro+, a 3-D printing pen set

Delights for the Inner Child

Who says toys are for kids? If your brother, sister or best friend is really a big kid at heart, why not give them the kind of toys they used to love (or would have loved) when they were kids? 

Kids at play can be incredibly expressive, so give your loved one a chance to show their artfulness with a LEGO wildflower bouquet (or any of their other fabulous sets – including those that are customizable. If that’s not quite their speed, consider something like a candle-making kit (with all the necessary supplies, a leather-working kit, a wood-burning kit or all the polymer clay and accessories they need to unleash their inner sculptor? 

Sets and kits like these come with all the accoutrements someone needs to create a finished product. Even better, most are relatively low-cost ways to let your loved one try their hand at a new skill or style of self-expression to see if they enjoy it.

The gift of creativity is a timeless and valuable gesture that has the power to unlock the creative potential within every recipient. A gift on this list is truly a gift that keeps on giving – long after the holiday is over.