Kas Winters

Release the Power of Your Child’s Imagination

Release the Power of Your Child’s Imagination and Watch Creativity Blossom
by Kas Winters, The Mother of Family Ideas™

Kas Winters

Imagination. We frequently hear the Einstein quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” The full quote is even better. The rest of it says: “For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might discover and create.” For children of any age, learning to use that power is a benefit that will reap life-long rewards. So, how do we, as parents, grandparents or people who work with children, encourage that?

1)  With school, activities, and Internet, children can be so busy, there is no time to daydream. Imagination flourishes  when there is time and space for it to grow. Make sure a child has some “do nothing” time where there are no demands, no schedules to meet, no immediate deadlines, and no electronic media. Nature is made for daydreams–whether it’s a walk in a park, looking at the stars at night, watching bugs, birds or other critters, or a hike in the mountains. Places like “forts,” tents (indoors or outside), and even cardboard boxes are conducive to creative thoughts.

2) Provide non-specific materials for fun. So many of the toys and electronic items kids use have an agenda. Activities such as “Color-by-number,” “Make it look just line the sample,” “Assemble pieces as shown,” and “Follow the Directions,” might be fun, but they block rather than fuel an inspired process. The desire to discover can even be interrupted when children are criticized for not following such commands. A few examples of  such open-ended materials include: pieces of paper, boxes, cardboard tubes, recyclable materials, scrap pieces of wood, fabric, aluminum foil, pipe cleaners and craft sticks.

3) Find ways to have fun with nothing! Make funny faces. Cross your eyes. Sing songs and make up your own words or even melodies. Create sound effects, music, and noises. Dance, run in the wind, twirl in circles, or climb. Tell stories that “pop into your head” and giggle.

4) Notice your world. Use a magnifying glass for an up-close look and binoculars or a telescope to see things far away. Smell the flowers, the pine trees, and the rain in the air. Plant something and watch it grow.

5) Investigate the arts with an open agenda. Play with a variety of art supplies and materials. Make whatever you want. Listen to many different types of music. Go to galleries and museums to see things you haven’t seen before. Ask many questions.

These are five beginning steps to allowing, and even encouraging, children to use their incredible imaginations. Try some and watch what happens.

My family activity guide, Mother Lode has over 5,000 activities for children, most of which involve creativity and imagination.  http://www.everythingfamily.net/motherlode.htm For February family activities, go to:  http://www.everythingfamily.net/februaryholidays.htm.