A great deal of the appeal of St. Patrick’s Day is the fun of imagining. Fairies, leprechauns, and imaginative play can happen on other days too.
We’ve all heard Einstein’s words, “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge.” Somehow, fantasy takes second place to reality. But children—and also adults, need imagination as part of the real world. We understand other people’s feelings when we can imagine how they feel. We can see their point of view when we imagine how things look to them.
To help children develop critical social skills, adults often ask, “How would you feel? What would it be like if someone did that to you?” Essentially, we are asking children to imagine.
Some ideas for pretend play about leprechauns and fairies would be to invite children to set up a miniature space for them. Big Sister found some small objects in a drawer in the bathroom and imagined that The Three Bears found a fairy space when they went for a walk to let their porridge cool. She proudly showed what she’d created.
This is a photo of another child making fairy stew with nature items. This is a pretend activity that can be done over and over. Hands are busy and so are minds.
Kids can imagine they are fairies and leprechauns. They may have to fight giants or other creatures. In pretend play, kids get to feel brave and powerful. In the real world, they often feel just the opposite.
Brains are incredibly busy during pretend play solving problems, planning, creating, predicting, comparing, trying, talking, and more. Fairies, leprechauns, and imaginative play are a way for children to stretch their thinking and understanding, helping them to go both beyond and within reality. Just imagine…