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.
Why Have We Stopped Imagining?
Some parents and educators are very concerned about the trend away from imaginative play. Diane Levin, Associate Professor of Education at Wheelock College and co-author of “Who’s Calling the Shots” (New Society Publishers) explains, “play in the middle years is disappearing.”
Professor Levin traces the problem back to a child’s earlier development when she was introduced to media and its related toys: “the link up of toys with TV shows has led to a real undermining of play. Rather than playing, children using these toys imitate. In imitation, imagination and creativity are not used.”
Video games have a particularly adverse affect on our children’s play says Professor Levin: “The object of a video game is to figure out what the programmer had in mind. Rather than opening up a child’s mind to create new strategies, it narrows his thinking. He is not in charge. The game is out of his control.”
Further, “Play should develop problem solving skills as well as cognitive and emotional challenges. These (skills) help a child to socialize and become a part of his community. As (imaginative) play disappears, kids do not develop these skills. They become more dependent on external forces to show them what to do,” laments Professor Levin.
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