I remember many hours from my childhood that were filled with imaginary play. Passing that gift along to my children has been a blessing. They involve themselves in all sorts of pretend play, usually triggered by books they have read.From Mary and Laura in Little House on the Prairie to Meg and Jo from Little Women, there are few age-appropriate literary characters that they haven’t been.
If you would like to encourage your child’s imagination, these are five ideas that I’ve found helpful.
- Read books. We have been reading books together since before they were born! Including various types of stories can develop different interests. Even though both of our children are girls, we read our share of Richard Scarry and Thomas the Tank Engine when they were younger.
- Participate in pretend play with them. Act out stories using dolls, stuffed animals or action figures. Let your child become different characters by dressing up in old clothes of yours or in costumes that are their own size.
- Keep toys simple. If they have blocks, they can build anything they desire. Kitchen accessories lend themselves to tea parties with dolls or imaginary guests while toy cars can race around a track or drive “daddy” to work.
- Limit media exposure. If a cartoon writer or television show producer is filling your child’s mind with his own imaginings, there is less of a need for the child to create his own.
- Allow for plenty of free time. Don’t schedule every hour with activities; rather, let your children have the time and space to generate their own play.
How else do you help your child develop his/her imagination?
This is great – I love imagination play and my children don't lack in that area – they LOVE pretending and making up games etc. One thing I've found good for their imagination is to collect together all kinds of "junk" like paper towel rolls after the paper towel is all gone, empty packaging (boxes and containers and clean plastic jars of all kinds) and all those types of bits and pieces… and then let them use scissors and glue or tape to create whatever they can think of. This has led my children to create their own cardboard and plastic doll house (which they keep working on – making and adding their own handmade furniture etc) – they have spent SO many hours pretending with that doll's house which they made themselves (with a little Mummy help for the hard bits)!
I would agree with you that reading books is vital to stimulating the imagination – I found that Little House on the Prairie has especially stimulated many hours of play for my two littles!! 🙂
Great post, Tracey! =)
We've been busy gearing up for school, and I'm been very sparse in the blogworld, but I appreciate your wonderful posts, as always!
I like to have my kids look through books at a library or consignment shop with me ~ if something sparks their interest, we check it out. Just yesterday, my son wanted to get some "learn to draw" type books. We got one on how to draw horses. Since yesterday, he's drawn five horses and discovered a talent he never knew he had. What is most precious to me is that he was going on about how the horse is one of God's most amazing creations. =) We got a "how to draw people" book for my daughter, and they are both having fun learning to draw.
I also saw a great post a while ago about a lady who kept cans/boxes/containers of recent food items they purchased. They were all emptied and cleaned out and taped up, and she gave them to her children as "play" food! How creative and frugal!! Just like mom cooks with!
All your points are great, and number 5 is one I've really been working on lately. =) Thanks for the encouragement today!
Blessings to your family,
Love this post! I am excited that my little boy already loves to have me read to him!