“The true sign of of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination” – Albert Einstein
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere” – Albert Einstein
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination circles the world” – Albert Einstein
I’ve noticed that kids these days lack a sense of imagination, which is crucial to life long skills as they get older. Children during this time, are so hung up on electronics, that it’s not allowing them to practice their social skills and may even affect their problem solving skills.
So, my question to you is… does your kid(s) use their imagination? If your answer is no to that question, I have a few tips for you on ways to build their imagination skills. If you’re answer was ‘yes’ and you are looking for ways to build their imaginations skills even more, then scroll on down because i’ve also got you covered!
Why is it important for children to use their imagination skills?
When it comes to imaginary play, it’s important to start within the first 5 years of a child’s life. This helps them explore new knowledge and ideas and helps with learning their expressions. As they pass 5 years of age, they will be able to interact in different scenarios and will learn the consequences of certain scenarios as well.
It’s not about kids playing with their “imaginary friend” it’s about them using their brain in ways to solve problems, interact, express, and build. They use parts of their brains to come up with ideas to solve things, to imagine the unknown, to figure out how to build things, to practice their social skills; which are all VERY important life skills. When children use their imagination, they visualize what they desire and as they becomes adults those imaginary skills can help those desires become fulfilled.
Ways to build your child’s imagination
1. Take your child on an imaginary journey
Let them be the one to choose this adventure. You as a parent, just go along with it. If they are having a hard time picking where to go…guide them. Give them options. Ex. Maybe take a trip on a pirate ship…. or how about an adventure at the beach looking for treasures…. how about running away from zombies…. Ok, maybe that one can be a bit too scary for the kiddos, but you get the idea. Make or use props. This will elevate their imagination skills.
2. Paint and color
Give them some paint or crayons and let them go at it. Ask them to draw/paint something for you and let THEM tell the story, even if the painting doesn’t look anywhere near what they are telling you. Go along with it. Perhaps even tell them what you see in their drawing/painting.
3. Play dough, Kinetic Sand, Legos
Now, I’m not a fan of play dough, but LOVE Kinetic Sand! However, have them make things for you. My kids and I love to play “kitchen” and have them make different kinds of foods. This will helps with their thinking skills in trying to come up with different types of foods to create. You can also do other things like build a castle, make pretty jewelry using different shapes, make faces with different expressions. Legos, is also a great way for them to build and use their imagination. In fact, building Legos is Avery’s favorite way to use her imagination. She will build these insane buildings and have a whole story behind it. It’s amazing!
4. Ask “I wonder” questions
When asking your child “I wonder” this leads your child to explore their imagination to the unknown. They dig deep in imagining and predicting what could happen. It’s a great way to help build their imagination!
5. Play outdoors in nature
Playing outdoors is a great way to help with kids imaginary play. Whether you are playing house on a playground or exploring through woods, come up with journeys to keep their focus.
6. Tell stories
Telling stories right before bedtime is another great way to build their skills. It will also help tremendously when they sleep, as their “twilight zone” will drift off into what they are visualizing. Here is another great way to include “I wonder” questions.
As far as my children, I’ve always valued both Melia and Avery’s imagination skills. When my kids were younger, I made sure I focused on their imagination skills because I know how important it is. Also because we didn’t allow them to be on all these fancy devices and on our phones. In all honesty, it wasn’t until the pandemic started where we invested in getting both of the girls their own iPads, so they can stay connected and play with their cousins/friends on certain games. Of course now as they are getting older, they are starting to become more interested in game systems and electronics, but before that they were never really interested in them. I’m not sure if that’s because they are girls or if it’s because they didn’t get the choice of having those before, but us limiting electronics definitely built their imagination skills, which I physically see helps them in different scenarios, as they are getting older. In fact, whenever they get in trouble their consequence is TV and iPads being taken away, and this is when their imagination skills kick in. It’s something that I don’t regret doing and only hope that as they get older, they can use their imagination skills when needing to solve a problems, to socialize, and to fulfill their dreams.
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