If you haven’t heard, imagination is vital to the acquisition of knowledge. It plays a big role in both cognitive and social development, as well as problem-solving. Imagination can help children revisit already learned knowledge as well as explore new knowledge and ideas.
Imaginative play is unstructured play which encourages children to use their imaginations, instead of following rules. We also call it make-believe play, pretend play, or role play. Anytime a child is pretending to be someone or something else, as well as playing with an object and pretending it is something else, that is imaginative play.
Imaginative play is something you can encourage at home. My daughter has always enjoyed pretending she is on the phone, anything around her serves as a phone and she calls family members to chat. She likes to put a blanket over her head and pretend she is a ghost or sometimes crawls around and is a cat or dog. Not only are these activities fun for her but help in her development.
A great way to support imaginative play is “I wonder...” questions. Prompt your child with questions such as “I wonder what would happen if…” or “I wonder what you’re are going to build/do/use…”. In a scenario of going to space, help your child build a rocket. “Help” them build a rocket ship by saying something like “I wonder what you’re are going to use to build your rocket ship?”.
While we all live very busy lives, make sure to give your child some unstructured time to think and play. Time outdoors and nature also stimulates imagination and learning. Remember although you are an adult, it is important to show your child your own curiosity, creative thinking and imaginative skills.
Telling stories or listening to stories is also a great way to support your child’s imagination. Storybook offers 50+ stories with monthly updates for premium users. These stories are a great support for your child’s imagination. Listening to stories is especially helpful since children can imagine the story in their minds, enhancing creativity and imagination, as well as listening skills. Have your child pick out a Storybook story today and be surprised about how much they will get back.