It is more important to let a child’s imagination develop than it is to labor to inculcate in him or her some correct ethical point of view.
According to Sir Ken Robinson, an expert in public speaking and international advisor on education and arts to government, non-profits, education arts bodies and children’s education, ‘Imagination is the source of all human achievement‘, thus one of the key components of creativity and innovation.
A child’s imagination is more than just make believe, it is an area that sparks their creativity like no other an outlet for them, leading to open ended play and endless possibilities where they can be anything they want to be.
I ask my self some of these questions everyday, Do children today use their imaginations as much as we did when we were kids?
Do you see 21st century children spinning incredible tales and stories in their fantasy play like we used to when we played “police and thieves”?
All these activities we do than train our imagination and give us opportunity to imagine new ways of creating a peaceful world.
In the world of child development you may hear me use phrases online like “critical thinking skills” “creativity” “problem-solving” when referring to 21st century education. What am really talking about is… imagination. The way to create human beings with imagination is to provide them with opportunities to develop it for themselves when they are very young.
These opportunities are found in one place and one place only… PLAY. and Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Imagination is the door to possibilities. It is where creativity, ingenuity, and thinking outside the box begins for child development. Imaginative and creative play is how children learn about the world. Playing with paints, playing with play dough, with costumes, with glue and with crayons. Making a mess. Exploring the woods. Splashing in a puddle. Wondering at a caterpillar you notice inching by you.
Creativity and problem solving are among the basic skills that everyone is required to have, whether they have to deal with an everyday problem at home or a work related challenge. But to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas, we need to use our imagination and see things beyond reality.
Imagination fosters cognitive and social development. Everyone wants to raise children who reach their highest intellectual and social/emotional potential. In early childhood education, critical thinking skills and creative problem-solving abilities are goals for children’s development
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
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Below are tips and suggestions for nurturing students imagination and creativity:
Spend time outdoors.
The benefits of nature for child development are endless. Because nature is ever changing, it provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, and problem solving. The natural world inspires children to think, question, make suppositions, and develop creative minds. Children can draw in sand, make designs with twigs, build forts with branches, or simply lie on the ground and look up at the sky
Use props and toys to make it more interesting
There are so many household and education items that can be used to create a story. From empty boxes that can become cars and airplanes to dressing up like superheroes, all you need to do is foster creativity in your pupils to help them grow emotionally and socially.
From rhymes to riddles, silly sounds to phonics, games such as “I Spy” or making up lyrics to common tunes, verbal interactive activities can inspire and nurture creative minds. Simultaneously, these activities build vocabulary and help your pupils learn phonics. These games are also the perfect and fun way to spend time in car rides.
Make up stories
Creating your own stories is a great way to spark your children’s imagination and enjoy a family activity, similar to reading a book. Start crafting a story and ask your children to fill in the details. Why not encourage them to become the main characters and create their own adventures?
Encourage art activities. Art is creative expression that nurtures imagination, not a lesson in following directions. Through painting, sculpture, collage, clay, drawing or any other medium, art is a way for children to work through emotions, make decisions, and express their ideas. Manipulating art materials provides a sense of freedom yet also encourages focus and concentration. Art activities also develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Furthermore, art activities build confidence because children gain a sense of mastery over materials resulting in a new creation.
Arts and crafts are not only for the super creative! Challenge yourself and learn a new art like origami or paper cutting. You will be able to find different shapes that are appropriate for your children’s age and have fun while enhancing your children’s and your imagination at the same time. Learning the basic Origami techniques will allow your children to improve coordination and concentration skills.
Share literacy activities. Make reading time memorable and discuss other possible scenarios or endings for the story by using your child’s imagination. Make up stories with your child, at times with her as the main character; other times propose moral dilemmas. Take turns making up a continuing story.
Ask open-ended and thought-provoking questions. Asking questions that provoke imaginative and creative thinking is an effective way to invite your child to express his ideas and share his visions, while giving him the message that his ideas are important. “What do you think would happen if….?” “What’s the difference between a dog and a cat?” “What are some other ways to do this?”
Limit screen time (television, movies, computer, tablet, smart phone, handhelds, video games, etc.). Nurturing imagination and parenting in the digital age can be tough. Focusing on a screen is a passive way of learning for children. An alternative would be to encourage children to create something new and different. Engaging children in a kinesthetic manner using their entire bodies and their five senses also opens the mind.
Benefits of encouragement children creativity
1. Emotional Development
Through imaginative and pretend play, kids grapple with their feelings, thoughts, confusions, wishes, and fears. By “grappling,” they learn!
2. Social Development
Children learn how to deal with one another through imaginative and pretend play. Role-play involves negotiating, reading social cues, self-restraint, decision-making, sharing, caring, and taking turns. That’s a whole lot of complex social skills!
3. Language Skills
Throughout the process of play, kids need to make their ideas clear, promoting vocabulary growth and communication skills. Children learn not only language, but body language, as well.
By creating their own world, children become the active “creator.” They’re no longer chained to their real size, age, and dependency on adults. This is quite reassuring and relaxing for them.
As kids pretend to be someone else, they get a sense of how it feels to be someone else. This leads to the discovery of “others,” and how these others feel.
6. Experimentation, Innovation & “Mistakes”
What is the safest environment for a child to experiment and brainstorm in, and even make mistakes in? The environment he or she has created! Imaginative play leads to all sorts of unexpected discoveries. Sometimes it can even lead a child to his or her ultimate passion in life.
Imaginative play is clearly more than just something that children do to pass the time and keep themselves entertained. It’s a valuable way in which children develop some of the primary skills that will aid them later on in life.