Why imagination matters so much, and how it can influence your children’s development

According to Sir Ken Robinson who is an expert in learning and children’s education, ‘imagination is the source of all human achievement‘, thus one of the key components of creativity and innovation.
Creativity and problem solving are among the basic skills that everyone is required to have, whether they have to deal with an everyday problem at home or a work related challenge. But to think outside the box and come up with innovative ideas, we need to use our imagination and see things beyond reality.

Imagination is essential in the learning process and can advance cognitive development. Young children often learn about historical events, different cultures or people that they will never meet, and imaginative play is a way for them to discover the world that surrounds them and collect experiences.

Through imaginary games and storytelling children are more likely to adapt learning habits, develop their communication skills and improve their vocabulary. By using their senses and bodies, they can move around and develop their muscles as well as the neurological connections in their brains.

How can you encourage your children to develop their imagination and creativity?

Read books

Reading books

What better way to develop your children’s imagination skills than by reading books. A picture in a book can be a source of inspiration to create your own story or add to the one you are reading, and children’s books are full of colourful illustrations. Your children will become interested in different subjects as they grow, and interactive books will not only capture their attention but will set the foundation for reading and learning skills. You can find a variety of books at your local library as well as children centres like 1st Place Children and Parents’ Centre.

Make up stories

Creating your own stories is a great way to spark your children’s imagination and enjoy a family activity, similar to reading a book. Start crafting a story and ask your children to fill in the details. Why not encourage them to become the main characters and create their own adventures?

Use props and toys to make it more interesting

There are so many household items that can be used to create a story. From empty boxes that can become cars and airplanes to dressing up like superheroes, all you need to do is foster creativity in your children to help them grow emotionally and socially. Even small items that can be found in kitchen cupboards or around the house can fuel your children’s fantasy and motivate them to create their own story.

Still life kitchen toys

Open-ended toys like wooden blocks or water tables are among the best options as they can be used in many different ways based on your children’s imagination to create castles or entire cities. At 1st Place our approach is inspired by Reggio Emilia and our programme includes activities with open-ended materials to support children’s cognitive and social development. Click here for more information.

Visit a museum or gallery

You might think that galleries and museums are adult-oriented, but a painting or a photo can be the beginning of a story for your children. Observe them and find out what captures their attention. Images are a form of visual storytelling so you can build a story around the artwork and fill in the gaps with your children.

Origami creations

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Arts and crafts are not only for the super creative! Challenge yourself and learn a new art like origami or paper cutting. You will be able to find different shapes that are appropriate for your children’s age and have fun while enhancing your children’s and your imagination at the same time. Learning the basic Origami techniques will allow your children to improve coordination and concentration skills.

Limit screen time

Children have now access to a wealth of information and images online. They can see pictures of extinct animals and watch documentaries recorded in distant counties with different cultures. There are also a variety of quality TV programmes. But since videos are already visualised stories, it’s best to use these resources as a starting point for your own story and always spend time discussing the content of the video with your children.

Scientists suggest that since this is the first generation of children that grow up with mobile devices it’s difficult to predict the effects of screen time on their brain, but most of them advice parents to use technology thoughtfully and set limits to screen time. For more information about how mobile devices affect your children’s brain click here.

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