Children’s Imagination Power – Olympic Games #20

During many Olympic interviews, the athletes mentioned how they had imagined winning. Children’s imagination power can help them in whatever they do too.

children's imagination power

As we watched the performance of the world’s top athletes, we were amazed at the displays of what the body can do. The pole vaulters topped bars over 20 feet – 6 metres in the air. The high jumpers cleared more than 2 metres, almost 8 feet. That’s like jumping the height of a garage or a ceiling. The gymnasts balanced upside down and landed twists and turns on skinny bars and beams, and the high divers sliced through the water at the speed of cars. Impressive and astonishing. But we didn’t see the feats that were happening in their minds. Those would be amazing too.

Imagination is a form of self-talk, but in pictures instead of words. When you think about it, it doesn’t seem believable that imagining doing something can strengthen muscles and coordination. How does that work? In an article, The Power of Imagination, Dan Peterson writes, “merely imagining doing something is very nearly the same as actually doing it.”childrens imagination power

For kids, we need to encourage and support their imagination power. Our role could vary from bringing home an empty box, filling an empty laundry basket with clothes for dress-up, or stretching a blanket over the sofa to make a fort. Kids can take it from there.

When we’re together with them doing ordinary, everyday activities, we can extend imagination with questions and suggestions. When riding the bus, ask your child to imagine what might happen if the bus grew wings. Maybe the bathtub becomes a boat on the ocean. Where will it go? As you prep a meal, be the voices of the fork and spoon and have a conversation. Reading books and telling stories exercises and stretches imagination. Can you imagine if giraffes were diving at the Olympics?

Children’s imagination power can help them cope with challenges and stress as well as excel at sports. For a play-of-the-day, can you imagine…?

Playing with A Box and a Paper Tube

When is a box not a box? When kids are playing with a box, it becomes a rocket, a fort, a mountain, Elsa’s ice castle, a Rebel space station, a pirate ship, Santa’s sleigh, the workshop at the North Pole, a stove, a restaurant,  an office, a store, a post office, a car, a bus, an airplane, a boat, a train, a zoo, and whatever else kids can imagine.

When is a wrapping paper tube not a tube? When it’s a lightsaber, a sword for a knight or a pirate, a tunnel for cars and trucks, a tree, a log, a cane, a witch’s broomstick, a magic wand, a cowboy’s horse, a bridge, and like the box, anything else kids decide.

(thx Explorations Early Learning)

In just a few days at Christmas, kids will be receiving wonderful new toys. By comparison, a box is nothing, but to a child with imagination it can be everything. Both boxes and paper tubes have unlimited possibilities. Playing with a box or playing with a paper tube will engage the imagination.

Why is the imagination so crucial? The brain is not just a collection of special cells called neurons, it is also a  vast system of connections, about 1,000 trillion of them. The early years are the most sensitive time for wiring these connections. The imagination can create new and very different pathways.

playing with boxesFor a play-of-the-day, find an empty box, preferably one that is big enough for a child to fit inside. Kids can color on the box or leave it plain. They will often accessorize with toys or treasures from the recycling.  A wrapping paper tube, or smaller one from paper towels, can be used with or without a box. It can be covered with aluminum foil to make it shiny, or it too can be colored. While it might look like the magic is coming from the wand or box, isn’t it really coming from the kids themselves?

Z = Halloween Zombie and Blanket Fort Zoo

Many parents think they might be zombies by the night of Halloween. It might be time for the ultimate rescue: a Halloween blanket fort zoo.

halloween blanket fortNeed a few minutes of focused time so you can get costumes or other Halloween details done? Although it tends to use a whole room, a blanket fort does contain the action to that space. Plus, it can be adapted to practically anything.

Our GORF, or good ol’ reliable fort, was a zoo for a round up of stuffies. I suspect this was Big Sister’s idea but it was endorsed by Little Sister: the stuffies needed Halloween costumes. To confess, the idea  may have been inadvertently inspired by me. After all, I was sewing. Fortunately, an assortment of  hats from the dress-up trunk was enough. The deer hat fit best on the cougar.  Since this was a zoo, the  animals were sorted out according to type and assigned to a space. This took quite a big chunk of time, along with feeding the animals an assortment of wooden block food.

Pretend play is a treat for brains. Not only is it a powerful and complex tool for thinking and creativity, it’s also a gateway for interacting with the world emotionally. Kids can imagine being scared, hurt, angry, or anxious and feel those emotions to a controllable level. As they play, kids can take a variety of roles, such as the boss, the zookeeper, the parent, or the baby and try it on for size. Just like a costume, what words and actions fit each part?

Connecting thinking and action in imaginative play requires both decision making and planning. Kids need to choose what to do and they need to organize how they will do it. They use language purposefully as they interact with others, no matter if those others are real or pretend.

Halloween involves imagining on a grand scale. Blanket forts are a safe and secure place. Perhaps, this is kind of like having both tricks and treats?

October Alphabet: I is for Imaginative Play

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter I for imaginative play. Albert Einstein himself said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The month of October is a dramatic time for the changes in nature and these seem to make a backdrop for the drama of Halloween. No sooner do the green leaves of … Continue reading October Alphabet: I is for Imaginative Play

Off to School Toolbox: Imagination Skills

What do you do to help kids develop imagination skills? While we don’t think of imagination as part of IQ, it is a powerful tool for the brain’s toolbox. Albert Einstein himself said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” We think of imagination as an ingredient in fantasy, but it is just as important in … Continue reading Off to School Toolbox: Imagination Skills

What Makes A Magical Childhood? Part 2: Imagination

Have you come across the article about a magical childhood by Bunmi Laditan? Making a childhood magical doesn’t require a magic wand, or that parents and caregivers be magicians—altho we often are. This is the second in a series of blog posts about ways to weave some spells for kids. Magic Needs Imagination: Although it’s … Continue reading What Makes A Magical Childhood? Part 2: Imagination

Pretend Play with Lego or Duplo for Fun and Learning

The Lego movie captures all of us in the magic of “Let’s pretend”. Charming and delightful, it appeals to the imagination and sense of play. Did you know that pretend play is important for brains? This kind of play is complex and powerful for thinking and learning, and helps children with early development and kindergarten … Continue reading Pretend Play with Lego or Duplo for Fun and Learning

A Parade to Celebrate Fun, Learning, Kindergarten Readiness

Did your family get to watch a parade this weekend? Many communities had their own parades this weekend, plus there were some on tv, so a play-of-the-day idea for fun, learning, and kindergarten readiness could be having a parade. A parade can be inside or outside, depending on the weather and parades are appropriate for … Continue reading A Parade to Celebrate Fun, Learning, Kindergarten Readiness