Do you want your child to reach the highest intellectual, emotional and social potential? If yes, you are in the right place! Momjunction is here to let you understand in entirety how imagination works in kids, how and what to do to foster creativity for your child’s cognitive development.
Importance Of Imagination In Children
“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” — Einstein
The journey to discovery, creativity, and wisdom begins with the first step — imagination.
- Imagination aids cognitive and emotional development in children. It helps them generate creative ideas and solutions to problems. In your child’s early education, you should focus more on creative problem-solving abilities and critical thinking skills.
- Learning and child development are interlinked. Children blend their imagination, creativity, and knowledge when they indulge in pretend play and other such activities that are inadvertently related to the growing process, both emotional and cognitive.
Imagine children ‘cooking’ with a variation of dirt, leaves, sand and so on. That’s how they relate to the world and try to understand things around them.
But, hark! Often, parents hinder their children from indulging in creative activities worrying that the child won’t understand what’s real and what’s not. One of the worst things to do with kids is to stifle their imagination before it can develop.
Understand that imagination allows your child to contemplate on different resolutions and unique thoughts, cultivating socio-emotional development and boosting confidence. These are skills that stay.
[ Read: Confidence In Kids ]
Ideas to Nurture Imagination In Children
An imaginative child is much happier, alert and is better at coping with different situations. Here are a few tips to nurture healthy imagination in your kid.
1. Through stories
“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.”—Jean Luc Godard.
Children have an innate love for stories. It increases their willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings. Since stories are an extension of imagination, children don’t just hear and read a story; they live it too. Every scene and character happens to them, and that’s how creativity fosters.
Read books, share stories you’ve heard in your childhood and narrate scenes from your favorite plays. Watch movies together and help them know stories through a different medium. You don’t have to restrict yourself to fiction alone. Narrate historical events, biographies, and stories of leadership and innovation to enrich your child’s mind.
- Discuss different scenes in books and movies and help them come up with alternative endings.
- Create your stories together with the child.
- Become characters in a book/movie and navigate the fictional world in your way.
- Read picture books to preschoolers. Take some time to observe the images.
- Help them learn new words, names of places, and explore history through stories.
2. Early art
Crayon scribbles on the walls are a parent’s nightmare. However, the wall is your kid’s first canvas for creative expression. The importance of exposing kids to art is usually undervalued as parents focus more on academics than on creativity.
But appreciation for art encourages a child’s self-expression, imaginative thinking, and self-esteem.
- Give your child tools to paint, mold, and sculpt.
- Enroll your child in art/craft classes.
- Take them to art exhibitions and museums.
- Refrain from guessing or labeling their creations. Be an observer.
- Don’t try to rationalize your child’s art. Their Sun may not be yellow.
- Let them use what’s available to create masterpieces. Empty egg cartons, cardboard boxes, and small clay pots act as excellent canvases for children.
- Read wordless picture books to encourage observation.
[ Read: Personality Development Tips For Kids ]
3. Pretend play
Does your child love pretending to be a doctor, chef, business person or a rock star? Whether it’s splashing in the puddles, making a dish with leaves and dust, painting a black sky – everything is an extension of the child’s understanding of the world.
According to research, “If children lack opportunities to experience pretend play, their long-term capacities related to metacognition, problem-solving, and social cognition, as well as to academic areas such as literacy, mathematics, and science, may be diminished.” (1)
- Through dramatic plays and imaginative games, children first recognize their likes and dislikes.
- They experiment and try to make sense of what they’ve observed.
- Through role plays children become comfortable and familiar with the real world.
Play along with your kid when they are in the pretend world. It’s okay if your kid says, “I braved a lion today,” or “Taste the yummy cake I baked.”
- Encourage your child to recreate his or her favorite story, take it further and add their individual twists. Prompt their imagination by asking about situations that may take place.
- Provide props to play with and enact his imaginative plays. Props can be simple things like stuffed toys, sock puppets or something made from paper, and not necessarily store-bought. Participate in these plays if your kid invites you to play a character.
- Make “prop boxes” with dramatic themed materials to unleash your child’s imagination. Favorite prop boxes for children are restaurants, markets, kitchen or a hospital.
4. Exploring nature
Children are always fascinated by a bird’s ability to fly, and they wonder why they can’t. Mud castles are a result of kids’ design sensibilities.
Research shows that frequent contact with nature positively impacts a child’s psychological, physical and social health (2). Nature is a wonderful catalyst that enhances cognitive skills, critical thinking, social awareness, and visualization.
- Visit wildlife sanctuaries, botanical gardens, and nature parks and introduce new things to the child.
- Naturalize outdoor learning
- Spend more time around greenery, be it your home garden, a park, or a forest.
- Introduce books about the universe and our planet.
- Let him collect objects such as seashells, pebbles, leaves or pine cones that make him curious.
[ Read: Tips To Make Children Independent ]
5. Through curiosity
“No one is dumb who is curious. The people who don’t ask questions remain clueless throughout their lives”— Neil deGrasse Tyson
A child is an expert who’s interested in everything. Curiosity encourages active thinking and exploring the unknown. It sparks questions and a thirst for knowledge. Take some time to answer your kid’s questions or explore answers together. Help them make sense of the external world through their thoughts, ideas, and creativity.
- Ask them open-ended questions so that they can answer it in creative ways.
- Ask “how, why and what if?”
- Provide them with tools to satisfy their curiosity. If your child is fascinated by the tiger, watch a tiger documentary together and answer all his questions.
- Solve puzzles together.
- Make rhyming sentences.
- Visit new places.
The only thing that can limit your child’s imagination is your own imagination. Become a kid again and explore the world one more time, with a new perspective. See it again as a child and indulge in activities that can develop your child’s imagination.
Do share your ideas for fostering imagination in children, in the comments section below.
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