How (and Why!) to Nurture Your Child's Imagination
A box and a wooden spoon used to be all a kid needed to play for hours. But imaginative play may be disappearing in today's world of TV, computers, and video games. Read on to learn more about this lost art.
The Lost Art of Imagining
It all started the day our neighbors bought a new refrigerator. While they were installing it, I was commandeering THE BOX. In my opinion, boxes, of any shape and size, rank right up there with rubber
bands and toilet paper rolls as the best toys. For example, Matchboxes turn into beds for clothespin dolls, tissue boxes dress up as stages for finger
puppets, and shoeboxes transform into dinosaur dioramas.
The boxes with the most potential are the oversized receptacles of kitchen appliances and large pieces of furniture. Just think of the possibilities: space ships for trips to Mars, tents for indoor camping
trips, and submarines to reach the very depths of the sea. Needless to say, it was with great anticipation that I awaited the boys’ return from school that afternoon. I was so sure they would be excited with my
latest acquisition; however, they were decidedly underwhelmed.
I was crushed. While I was envisioning hours of creative play, their minds were filled with Nintendo fantasies of rescuing computerized princesses. I even tried to coerce them into playing with the box by
locking them out of the house for forty-five minutes. They sat by the window making puppy dog faces and begging to come inside.
In an attempt to overcome my disappointment, I acknowledged that maybe my children were getting too old for imaginative play. Yet, as I recalled my own childhood, I remembered the many hours my friends and I
spent acting out elaborate scenarios of Cold War spies on missions of international intrigue, or bewitched royalty lost in enchanted woods.
Upon seeing this lack of fantastic vision in my own family, I began to ponder: has the imagination met its demise? Are children today no longer interested in creating mythical worlds? Do they only want to
conquer the prefabricated ones designed by computer wizards?
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