Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to Nurture a Child's Imagination

How to Help Children Develop Creativity and Problem Solving Skills

Imagination is propelled by a child’s play instinct. It can be enhanced and nurtured by providing opportunities to problem solve, explore, experiment and discover. Creative children view the world as having endless possibilities and adventures. Childhood should be a time of magical play, when a child’s imagination has no limits. Encourage children to explore and experiment, leading them to become the future’s great thinkers.

My grandson really wanted an expensive Star Wars' lightsaber. He asked to work to earn money but still didn't have enough to buy the toy. Nathan loves duck tape. He found some paper towel rolls and taped together a lightsaber, then painted it. He saved money, built his self-esteem, and made his own unique toy.

Ways to Nurture Imagination:
  • Ask questions, probe.
  • Provide a variety of opportunities for observing, exploring and expanding thought processes.
  • Encourage play and experimenting with new ideas, new adventures.
  • Do things differently. Encourage children to think about how they can do something better.
  • Give a child time to generate ideas.
  • Deprive a child of something and let them create a replacement.
  • Don’t judge or evaluate. Encourage the process of creativity rather than asking for a particular outcome or product.

Stick Fun Down at the Farm

Encourage Creativity:

  • Turn off the TV and electronic games.
  • Tolerate Messes. Let a child play in the dirt. A block of wood can become a bulldozer, sticks can become a secret fort.
  • Let Your Child Lead. Take a walk and let your child led the way inventing games or making up songs or movements.
  • Listen to Your Child. Answer their many questions.
  • Encourage Imaginary Play. Preschoolers don’t care what they look like to others or how smelly their costume has become. Let them enjoy pretending.
Make up Stories in the Car, on a Walk, while Reading Books:
  • Begin a story, then ask: “Where do you think the story should go next?”
  • Let your child be the star of the story.
  • Let children choose a word and begin a story making up things about the words. Continue the story by asking: What happens next, how, when, where, who, why?
 3 Questions to Enhance Creativity: 
  • What would happen if?
  • Is there a better way?
  • What do you think?

    Benefits of Creative Play:

    • Ability to problem solve
    • Higher self-esteem,confidence and self-fulfillment
    • Better able to cope with challenges and difficult situations
    • Becoming creators and innovators

    How many times has a child discarded the new toy in a box – to play with the box? Your child will want more and more toys if they don’t know how to use their imagination to build on what they have. They will trade their imagination for things someone else thought of - instead of developing their own creativity. 

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge.
    For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
    while imagination embraces the entire world,
    and all there ever will be to know and understand."

    ~ Albert Einstein

    Play House - Build a Home
    Why Craft? Why Art?

    How do you Encourage Creativity?

    Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Do you need inexpensive ideas to teach your preschooler? Let us save your sanity one project at a time with The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn - both are bestsellers and also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Ebooks are only $3.99.

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    1. Wonderful reminders. My pediatrician just emphasized the need to limit screen time and your ideas are wonderful. Duct tape and recyclables are also magical for kids! And I'm quite sure Nathan will enjoy his homemade sword/light sabre much longer than if it was purchased plastic!

    2. Mia - thank you so much. It is amazing how long a child will play and learn with different kinds of tape. We love recyclables too. Thank you for visiting.

    3. What a wonderful post! Love, love all the suggestions, and ideas. Sharing, and pinning. Thank you!

      1. Frances - Thank you so much for visiting and sharing. Love your blog!

    4. Hear, hear! Who are the most creative people in the world? CHILDREN! For me, it's about us grown-ups not putting a stopper on their creative, imaginative flow. You've summed up the ways we can go about this brilliantly. Thank you x

    5. Julia - Thank you so much for visiting. You have a very interesting career. So happy you visited.

    6. Susan...I love this article and shared it everywhere.:)
      Are you planning to do a Google+ Hangout this month? I didn't do one in January...too much going on...but if you'd like, I'd love to do one with you around Valentine's Day.

      1. Yes, let's do a Valentine Hangout on Wednesday. Thanks for asking! It will be on Love and Friendship.

    7. Great suggestions Susan! I am really working my language when talking with my children that I am not evaluating their 'work' or play.

      1. Thank you Amie. So sweet of you to stop by and comment.


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