The Importance of Developing a Child’s Imagination
When children play, make up stories, or even talk to imaginary friends, they are not just ‘having a little bit of fun.’ Instead, such playtime is vital for a whole range of personal and social development.
As such, whilst we hear that computer games and too much TV may be bad for young children then proceed to brush off such concerns as the rambling of a nanny state, switching TV for toys and allowing children to get imaginative will be vital.
Some TV shows and computer games may well help, so long as they have been devised specifically for learning. However, even then, everything will be handed to the child on a plate and whilst such shows may develop certain personal skills, they may still fail to effectively develop a child’s imagination. In turn, offering them plenty of time for imaginative play will be vital.
Instead of helping children escape reality as was once assumed, imagination helps children better understand the world around them, helping with everything from empathy to intellectual study. In fact, rather than allowing children to spend their time lost in fantasy, regular play that helps develop young imaginations will actually help younger children to begin to understand the difference between fantasy and reality. This can be vital in later life both as a tool to understand history and as a way of delineating the difference between what can exist and what can’t. As such, imagination is a tool that can help us better understand the universe around us, and in turn may surprisingly play a key role in science too.
This type of imaginative recreation will also help children to develop language skills, using words that they might not otherwise need to use at such a young age and in turn committing them to memory for the future. Imaginary friends offer children someone to talk to on a regular basis, something that will not just help them develop verbal and language skills, but also social skills and even empathy.
Parents and teachers alike should therefore encourage fantasy play. For parents this can be through the use of stories or dressing up whilst, for teachers, there will be plenty of role play resources available on the market to help them better engage students’ imagination throughout both class time and indeed playtime.
Whether children believe in imaginary friends or indeed the Easter Bunny, these fantasies should always be encouraged to ensure children can grow socially and indeed emotionally. School role play equipment will not just help this, but will also aid problem solving, allowing them to find solutions to issues they simply would not face in ordinary life at such a young age.
For parents and guardians, it will be easy to encourage imaginative recreation, but in school this can be harder when there will be so many imaginations running wild at once. In turn, the right resources focussed specifically to such play may be invaluable and allow teachers to encourage many dozens of blossoming imaginations without all hell breaking lose in the process.