On more than one occasion (this week) I’ve walked into a room to find an epic mess of blankets, pillows and stuffed toys. But once I’ve taken that first very deep breath I can see that the cushions are walls of a castle, the TV remote is a phone and the dog has become a horse (with a saddle and all). This is what young kids do to fuel their imaginations. As messy as it is, imaginative play is a very important step in a child’s development that will likely shape the person they are to become.
It helps nurture language skills
Ideally, children do a lot of talking and visualising when creating their own stories and they may draw on real-life experiences for some inspiration. This provides a great opportunity for them to boost their linguistic skills when learning the names of the different materials they are using and those that they are trying to recreate. It may also help them to explain their emotions and their actual understanding of certain situations that their parents have had trouble dealing with.
It improves social skills
We all loved imaginative play as children because it was our chance to be anything we could possibly dream of. That new kid on the slide is really a dragon-rider, not a shy new kid that I didn’t know. We would ride dragons (slides and see-saws) all afternoon in my imaginary world. The ability of create imaginative storylines helps boost a child’s social skills. It is like a state of euphoria where the child believes that nothing can go wrong so they are not afraid of anything. Perhaps from this, they will forge lifelong bonds and friendships.
It enhances problem solving skills
On more than one occasion I’ve walked into the dining room to find a cubby house under the table, strewn with blankets across it and the chairs. However, there’s always that one blanket keeps falling out of place. Rest assured the kids kept supporting it with all kinds of things until it stayed in place. I love that they don’t quit on that plan and they will always find solutions to these massive construction problems.
Within their imagination, everything is possible. You can become anything or anyone. This opens up so many channels to explore their creativity and you never know what they will come up with next. They may be a unicorn dancing on the moon, or a police officer chasing down the bad guy, or an architect creating a curved skyscraper out of paper. Every moment they are nurturing their creativity.
You will be amazed by how intricate and complex these little minds are. Spend some quality time together and get into their imagination. Who doesn’t love swimming with mermaids and dolphins under the ice? Try it!