Imagination and creativity may not seem much to a lot of people but if you really stop and think about it, it makes sense to conclude that nothing man-made would exist apart from our own imagination and creativity.
From the clothes we wear to the objects we use to the different dishes we prepare, nothing that we use or consume will be around if not for someone’s vision and imagination.
One of the most concerning things around us is how glued our children are to their digital screens. Most, if not all, children around the world spend an unhealthy amount of time in front of TVs, computer/laptop monitors, smartphones, and tablets. While there’s nothing wrong with using these things for learning and entertainment, it takes away opportunities for them to do something highly creative and imaginative. Instead of being an active participant in a creative process, they passively consume visual and auditory stimulation that doesn’t require much use of their motor skills.
The Value of Pretend Play in Inspiring Creativity
One of the ways parents and adults can cultivate creativity and imagination in this young generation is to involve them in pretend play which requires mental engagement and kinesthetic movement.
A child’s imagination is an awesome thing to marvel at. If you just give them what they need — in this case, time, space, and a lot of encouragement — they can go anywhere, do anything, and be anyone.
Remember when you were a child and how you used to play out different scenarios in your head and acted them out? Or how about the time you designed your own spaceship out of a cardboard box to pursue alien invaders and protect the galaxy? Or the time that you pretended to give your friends a haircut with high-quality hair stylist tools made of random household items?
Pretend play can unlock a child’s creativity and unleash artistic potential. It’s a great avenue for children to recreate the world as they see it, allowing you to see how they understand and process things that go around them. It’s also a good way to build conflict management/resolution skills especially when they’re playing with another kid who also wants to be a princess or Superman.
Here are a few ways that you can help ignite their creativity:
1. Give them time to play alone and with other kids.
When children play all by themselves, it gives them the chance to be more imaginative. When they play with others, it allows them to work on their social and emotional skills on top of their creativity, which are all important skills to learn in life.
2. Show them how.
Play with kids and show them some things you did growing up, like making all those weird but cool sound effects with cars and toy soldiers or how you tied a blanket around your neck and flew around the room in search of bad guys to fight and people to help. It’s okay to be a kid once in a while. ;
3. Let them call the shots.
Another way you can go about it is by letting them take the lead. Ask them what their ideas are and how they would want you to participate. You can make suggestions if they ask for it but generally, let them do all the thinking.
4. Encourage them to think out of the box.
Look for items around the house that are safe for play and ask them how they would use the said items. It’s fun to see their eyes light up at the thought of using an old shirt hanger as a laser rifle,, twigs as swords, or books as cake. No matter how outrageous or outlandish their ideas are, just roll with it.
Pretend play is lots of fun and very educational. We just need to help kids today to discover the wonders of playing pretend and how it is exponentially a lot better than spending the whole day glued to gadgets and handheld devices.