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.
Ways to Encourage Imagination
Most experts agree that since television and video games are major culprits, their use should be limited. Professor Levin recommends keeping “screen time” to two hours a day.
The best alternative is reading. Encouraging a child to read may take some initiative on the parent’s part. (We pay a reward to our children for each book they read for pleasure.)
Reading as a family activity is a good idea, too. Let your child be bored. Children are not given enough
opportunities to be bored. Lots of creativity is born from boredom.
Take the responsibility for nurturing your child’s imagination.
- Spend time together talking, making pictures out of clouds, describing the creatures who may inhabit the farthest planets you see at night.
- When you’re in the car, talk about where the other motorists are headed or make up reasons for the traffic jam you have encountered.
- Take a walk in the woods and create your own Peter Rabbit story.
- Ask lots of what if questions such as: what if the sky was green? What if we walked upside down? What if we won the lottery?
- Provide materials for children which encourage creative play, such as hobby kits and construction sets. Collect recycled junk they can turn into personal masterpieces.
Sarah Fujiwara, owner of The Children’s Workshop in Cambridge, which specializes in open-ended playthings stresses: “it is the parents who need to spend time helping their children develop their imaginations. Nobody is going to go from not having any ideas to
becoming imaginative without help.”
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