Encourage Your Child to be Imaginative!
Imagination is one of the best (and most accessible!) tools for your child's development, and here's why...
Imagination is a super power. Or is the super power just part of the imagination? (How often does your child dress up as Batman, Superman, or some sort of newly-invented super hero?)
In addition to allowing your child be anyone or go anywhere, an active imagination enables your child to develop a strong sense of social awareness. It can help our sons and daughters expand their world and knowledge; to understand and attempt to feel the experiences of others. If you're worried that your child has an over-active imagination, below are a few reasons why you should be celebrating—and nurturing—your child's imagination. You can be proud to know that your child will grow up to be:
• A Problem Solver: Imagination is the window to thinking abstractly and conceptually. If your children can visualize a rainbow stretching over a faraway land, then they can think to magnificent measures. Your kids are able to instinctively adapt photographs, pictures, or real-life scenes they've seen to create something grand out of their imagination—or maybe they just thought it up all together. Imagination enhances memory, thought processes, and expands visions and vibrancy in the mind. When playing make believe, there's usually some sort of conflict that needs to be resolved, and your kids have the most interesting ways of going about that. They learn to think out of the box.
• Self-Confident: Your children need to feel like they can do anything or be anyone (an astronaut, a nurse, a firefighter, a veterinarian, a rock star)—it's this sense of self-direction that enables them to believe they can move forward in their lives with big dreams and goals. This builds and develops confidence, especially in their abilities and achievements. It also allows them to feel in control during situations that may be scary or unfamiliar.
• A Strong Communicator: Playing pretend, or acting out real-life or made-up scenarios help your children explore relationships. By playing house, for example, your kids imagine how it feels to be a particular person in a certain situation. This practice teaches empathy, sharing, understanding, and cooperation. It also introduces them to the importance of language and expression, i.e. words, sound effects, hand gestures etc.
• Best of all, imagination teaches your child to be adventurous, fearless, and creative! Playing make-believe or pretend can help your children work through fears, doubts, and worries about real-life situations. They can then take those fears and learn how to tackle them….using their imagination!
Where should you start to help spark a healthy imagination?
Read and share stories! Books, picture books, sounds, and stories are a few of the most important things that help trigger more creativity and imagination in your child. Make music and draw together. After all, your child was designed to be imaginative, inventive, maybe even a little silly at times, and they have you to share those qualities with.