One of the favourite activities of a child is to play and imagine. The early stages of development of a child includes several hours of creative imaginations as they are eagerly learning about their environment. Nothing seems impossible to children, they can ask thousands of questions a day concerning their imaginations. “mum, imagine I could fly” “mum why can’t chickens fly but other birds can fly” “Imagine my toys could talk to me”. They really just want to feed their curiosity.
Albert Einstein said” Your Imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions”. A child begins movement when they see you walking and they begin to imagine themselves do the same. With time, they crawl, hold on to things to stand and then gain the confidence to walk. Your toddler’s imaginations continue, when then they start to speak and understand the people around them.
Remember the pretend play with your friends when you were a child, playing dress up, hide and seek, King and queen, using several costumes at home to express your favourite characters and superheroes. As a child, you imagine yourself in several professions, wish you could grow up fast to become the star of your dreams or that superstar you always wanted to be like.
As parents, we need to encourage imaginations in children, forget the thousands of questions coming at you all at once, understand that children are at a stage in their lives when they seem to be completely made up of questions. Though you may not be able to provide them all the answers they require, you can give them the room to dream, explore and find some answers themselves- From imagination comes Creativity.
Why Is Imagination Important in Child Development?
The need to encourage imagination has never been so important. These days, children are beginning to explore their creative side and we’ve seen so many young children doing great with their talents. One of them is 11-year-old Kareem Waris that has gained worldwide recognition with his hyper realistic portraits and skilled drawing. Another talented child is Temilayo Abodunrin who started playing Piano from age four and is now a saxophonist at age nine. At Ruff’n’Tumble, making kids happy is our priority and we would love to see more kids exploring their creativity. Imaginative play helps in the creative, physical and social development of a child and these skills are important in early child development. Some benefits of encouraging your child to explore their imagination include:
Thinking skills: even without other kids, children can play on their own, and with their imaginations, they make up a story in their heads and come up with incredible scenarios. Imagination helps a child be in control of their environment and they begin to see things differently, and question things they don’t understand. It helps them understand their fears, strengths, interest and hobbies.
Problem solving skills: Problem-solving skills could be developed as difficulties arise when kids play with their friends. It could be choosing who plays which role in a drama, improvising with household items for play, fixing a broken toy or unhooking an object that is stuck. When playing with others or on their own, kids can come up ideas to solve the different problems they come up against.
Decision making: imaginative play helps kids make decisions on things that interest them the most. You could introduce your child to a number of fun activities and clubs at school till they pick an interest in something.
Physical skills: outdoor activities are a great way to keep kids active and fit. Encourage less screen time and more play outdoors. This way, they can learn how to enjoy different physical games.
Social Skills: during imaginative play, children come up with different characters to express themselves verbally and non-verbally. Children learn to socialize, bond, communicate during pretend play and these can increase their understanding and emotional intelligence.
Nowadays, children spend so much time in front of screens; Television, Tabs, phones and very little time outdoors. You will agree that the world has changed so much since you were a child, however somethings remain the same - outdoor play and creative play are still very important for our kids and the best way to encourage our kids to dream big and imagine themselves doing great things is to provide them with opportunities that could foster critical thinking and creative ability.
Are you providing your kids with enough time to play and imagine? Or do they spend several hours in school, followed up by endless screen time? While as a parent you might think giving your kids too much free time is wrong, and you prefer to sign them up for countless classes and activities just remember that part of a happy childhood is having free time to play and dream