One of the biggest gifts of a child’s mind is the wild imagination. This imagination is vital to the development of the child. When harnessed, imagination can be a powerful tool in learning and critical thinking. Knowingly or unknowingly, at times, adults stifle imaginations based on an assumption that the child is not connected to reality. Children of ages above 3 years usually know that trees can’t talk but take every opportunity to make scenarios more fun. Creative play encourages your child to make up scenarios, express verbally and non-verbally, manipulate their surroundings, plan, interact, react and assume various roles and perspectives, which in turn lead to the development of thought process and accountability of actions. These are also skills that will come in handy in every scenario throughout life.
The way to encourage this thought and behavior is not very difficult. Simple things like asking open ended questions, making up silly songs, join them in their imaginative roleplay and encourage different scenarios, spend time in nature, cook together, draw together, encourage art and most importantly, if your child comes home telling you that they were handed blue apples by the talking tree, maintain a straight face and join in!
Children need time that is unstructured and open to do whatever they choose to. They need someone who joins in the absurdity wholeheartedly. They need to be encouraged to create instead of being fed something that is created by someone else. Kinesthetic learning will help your child develop physically and mentally. The experience of jumping into a puddle can never be the same as reading about it or watching someone do it. Imagination can turn a cardboard box into a treasure chest of wonders. Like Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge”.