It’s the month of Spring, everything finally starts to wake up from the long winter sleep. How we long for Spring come August. We imagine how we are going to enjoy the longer afternoons, we imagine how we will picnic in the parks and watch birds build their nests for those Spring chicks. We imagine going for long walks in close-by forests. Imagine!
It made me think about a child’s imagination. When exactly do they fathom the idea of incorporating visual information into thinking and into their future expectations?
One study looked at two groups of children, one aged 19 months and the other 22 months old. In the experiment, each child was given a toy animal and they had to name the animal. Later this same toy was put in another room, then the child was told that someone spilt a bucket of water on the toy animal and it is now soaking wet.
Imagination would allow a child to incorporate this information into their mental representation. They were subsequently asked to collect their toys in the other room. In the room were both wet and identical dry animals.
The 22 month old children all went in and grabbed the wet animals, the 19 month old children did not. This study illustrates that by the age of two children can use information to update their knowledge, i.e. as Boston University psychologist Patricia Ganea wrote:
“at this age children can start to vastly expand their knowledge by learning about the world through verbal interaction.”
How many of us have asked our kids:
“what do you want to be when you grow up?”
And how many colourful answers have we had the privilege of getting from our children. A pilot! A doctor! Superman even! Some of our kids even imitate actions of these favourite professions.
Where do these ideas and perceptions come from? It turns out that imagination is imperative to a child’s way of thinking and to achieve goals in life. We all know what Albert Einstein said:
“”Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.”
Albert discovered because he was curious and because he was creative and imaginative.
So I would say imagination is pretty important in developing into a problem solver, a creator, a thinker.
Imagination is derived from imago (Latin) – meaning an image or picture. Mental images or ideas. Imagination means freedom. To work with ideas, with wishes and dreams. And this is the beginning of your child’s perception of their own future. Imagining what they will grow up to be, imagining how it will feel to swim with dolphins, imagining what it is like to be a mother or father, imagining what it would be like to fly. These are all very important to your child’s idea of their place in life, in the future.
Interestingly, children are not equal in their imagination and creativity, and these two attributes are actually very important in developing problem-solving skills.
Can it be taught? It can be encouraged.
Pretend play, expression of emotions by acting out (in a positive way of course) and working through problems by exploring different scenarios with your child are all ways to stimulate the imagination.
Build that mud kitchen and have them pretend to cook and think up recipes, get a few hand puppets and have them tell their own stories, instil a love for reading, get a dollhouse to develop team play.
Music instruments, stacking-blocks, engineering kits can all positively increase creativity and imagination.
I have been so fortunate to have the time and the resources to incorporate almost all of these aspects in Mishka’s life. I am so grateful to raise my daughter in a time where creativity is everywhere and attainable. Social media has opened up this world to us; we can source the most interesting handmade toys, sometimes custom-made toys. This is also a way for a child to develop imagination, by imagining what a doll will look like with a green bow, a red dress, black shoes, to then receive this creation in a beautiful package, gives a child the idea that imaginings can realize.
My idea has always been to part-take in Mishka’s life, that’s why I have no problem spending an afternoon in her tea garden, or “eating” her freshly baked mud cakes, or taking a stroll through the “forest” on our way to the dollhouse. I want Mishka to believe in her dreams and I think it starts with something as simple as playing make-believe.
I hope to share more on children’s imagination in the next few posts to inspire every parent to get involved. We are always complaining about their wasted time spent online, but do we make an effort to instil the desire for play. Guess what, you may even enjoy these activities more than you thought! For me, it’s also a moment where I go back to a time of innocence and possibilities.
It is my hope to show you that it is possible to have this kind of creativity in your everyday life. I will endeavour to share with you my ideas, our projects and creations.
Take a step back and don’t be so grown up all the time! Our kids need us to be fun and imaginative.
We would also like to give special thanks to Kamma Frans, they have definitely used aeons of imagination to create this awe-inspiring venue. There’s a space uniquely created for every type of occasion imaginable. These beautiful moments would not have been captured with such magic if it wasn’t for Kamma Frans and Luka Photography.