The Power of ImaginationSeptember 25th, 2011 | Posted by in Imaginative Play
One of the defining aspects of the human species is our ability to imagine. To see not what is right in front of us but to create fantasy scenes and situations and see them in our heads. Everything that has been built by man originated in someone’s imagination.
With children, imagination and creativity go hand in hand. A developed and strong imagination strengthens creative abilities. Psychologists like Jacqueline Woolley, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, are studying the process of “magical thinking,” or children’s fantasy lives, and finding evidence that imagination and role play have a key role in helping children take someone else’s perspective. Isn’t kindness and empathy something we all want our children to feel and demonstrate? And that’s only one of many social skills to be gained from imaginative play.
Encouraging children to use their imagination is a very easy thing to do. In fact, the ability to pretend is especially strong in children from being very young. Reading aloud to a child instantly puts a picture in their heads – especially when there are no pictures in the book to colour what they imagine. Role play is one of the best ways to encourage imagination, and providing the tools – even just a cardboard box – is all it takes to inspire the most inventive adventures. Best of all, children love it because it is fun. Think of Calvin and Hobbes in their richly imaginative world (created and captured perfectly by Bill Watterson). Calvin’s poorly-labeled box was capable of time travel! Just imagine…
More in later blogs about how imaginative role play empowers children, develops social skills and boost intellectual growth.