7 Ways to Encourage Imagination

Imagination


Helping your kids foster their imagination and creative thinking isn’t just child’s play -- it’s an important part of brain development, which can lead to problem solving, innovative thinking and communication skills.

Here are 7 easy ways to do it today:

1- Reading
It doesn’t necessarily need to be fantasies and fairy tales; picture books of any kind that introduce new concepts to your kiddos will help their imagination run wild.

2- Encourage pretend play
Hey, if your kids want to pretend the couch is a pirate ship, why stop them? Even better -- join right in the fun! And remember you don’t need fancy props or toys to make it seem even more real. Grab some wooden spoons from the kitchen and old scarves for them to dress up as pirates, and let the kids have fun, paddling away! We also love the idea of imaginary play during an adult supervised activity like bathtime, where you can let the kids imagine their bath toys are swimming in the ocean.

3- Don’t ask questions -- have fun and play along too!
Let them have fun and let their creativity flow by adding in supportive commentary like “Oh wow, you are paddling really fast!” rather than asking too many questions.

4- Tell stories
Bedtime is a great time to snuggle up and delve into an imaginary tale. You can even ask your kids to participate in the narrative by pointing at things in their bedroom that you then weave into the story. Storytelling is an important part of imaginative development.

5- Do arts and crafts
Whether it’s a rainy day or you’re looking for a fun weekend activity, arts and crafts are a great way to let kids “color outside the lines” and let their creative spirits run free. Painting, drawing, sculpting… they’re all great tactile activities that help develop their imagination.

6- Go on a nature walk
According to an article in Parenting magazine called “10 Easy Ways to Fire Your Child's Imagination,” grab a paper bag and go on a walk outdoors together. Help them collect 5-10 objects from nature and then have your child create a story based on the items they pull out of the bag, one by one. This is a fun way to incorporate nature and imagination.

7- Get them to think “outside the box” with a box
This idea is also courtesy of Parenting magazine: give your kids a big box to play with. Whether you have a large box lying around after unpacking something or get one from a local store, set up the box in an open space and let your kids imagine what that box is. Give them markers as well so they can decorate the box -- and turn it into a bus, house, cave -- whatever they’d like! You can also help out by cutting out some windows and playing along.

Have fun being creative and be good!

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