When a friend, Dot from the amazing site Busted Button, posted this photo of 3 of her kids with the caption: Who needs toys? We have cardboard… it seemed perfect for a post on imagination and kindergarten readiness. How many of us would like to be able to fly with our own wings? Now, we can only imagine being able to see the world like the birds do, but just imagine the perspective that would give us?
Imagination is a critically important thinking skill. In order to think about something that we are not currently experiencing, we need to be able to imagine it. Imagination is also part of relating to others. When we ask a child, “How would you feel if someone took away your toy?” the child has to imagine the feelings of the other person. Imagination is also vitally important for safety. For example, we want kids to see what could happen in their mind or imagine the situation as we explain to them that it could be dangerous to cross the street without looking. Works of art are based on imagination.
Because imagination is so important, kids need opportunities to connect to it. Cutting wings out of cardboard is only the beginning. Now the kids can imagine what kinds of creatures they are, where they are going, what they might see. They can think of ideas what they eat and what they do. All this thinking is great exercise for developing problem-solving and creative skills.
Increasingly, the workplace needs imaginative solutions so imaginative skills actually go far beyond kindergarten readiness. (As parents, sometimes we have to exist on the sleep we can only imagine.) For some fun and learning today, maybe find some cardboard and let your child turn it into something. What kind of flight of imagination will it be?