Imagination is often a child's favorite companion. As they learn to think more creatively in abstract ways, kids explore their surroundings with the help of imaginative games and playtime activities. Developing imaginative capabilities is essential for children to become critical thinkers and to comprehend the realm of possibilities, which will be important during their education and career years. Here are four ways in which parents can help their children discover the world of make believe.
As babies become toddlers, they begin to want to dress themselves and choose the clothes they wear. One of the first ways in which they experience make believe is by dressing up like Mommy or Daddy, putting on a parent's clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories. Not only does this illustrate the bond between children and their parents, but it also reflects the skill of mimicry as kids become more aware of daily activities and people beyond their immediate needs and look for ways to engage with them. Some parents don't mind sharing their clothing with toddlers and preschoolers. Others, however, prefer to let kids dress up in other outfits to encourage imaginary identities. In addition to Halloween, it is helpful to keep costumes for all occasions on hand for little ones to experiment with.
By age two or three, toddlers are eager to imitate adult behavior in various ways. For example, if they have a pretend kitchen playset, children may mimic servers they have seen at restaurants or a parent who prepares dinner by pretending to serve food on play dishes and saying, “Here you go, ma'am.” Adults associated with a specific role, such as a teacher or police officer, may be copied by a youngster who is learning to extend his or her grasp of the real world. Playing along with the child reinforces the role he or she has adopted and helps to foster creative role-play activities. It often enhances the experience to add props or invite the child's friends to participate.
Music And Dance
Turn on any music source, and watch your little ones morph into celebrity dancers and performers seen on television. Children naturally love to move and dance to music or rhythms of any kind. If they have seen professional dancers, they will likely pretend to be one. This can be a great way to teach balance and aesthetic movement, for example, through the mimicking of ballet or jazz performance, or other art forms of bodily expression. Kinetic activities are often part of the learning strategies for young children enrolled in preschool or elementary school.
From infancy through adulthood, children love being read to, and many will develop a personal reading habit as time goes on. Stories exert a powerful hold on the imagination, creating mental images of exciting legends and historical events that we could not otherwise experience. Listening to a soothing parent's voice tell a beloved favorite story or reveal a new adventure is a terrific way to capture children's ability to understand an abstract event that would otherwise be unfathomable. Beginning with fairy tales and moving on to chapter books and then novels, literature has a dynamic way of empowering children's imaginations to experience concepts that expand their universe. Although television, films, and Internet / YouTube story-telling has a similar effect, many educators believe that reading stories opens a world of wonders for kids of all ages.
To think beyond the mundane activities of daily life requires in-depth thought and constant challenges to preconceived notions. The imagination spurs children to look at the world through different lenses that can shape their lives in new and exciting ways. Kids that make believe are happier and healthier.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.