There are many skills for a child to learn as part of their early education and one of them is the development of their imagination skills.
Having good imagination skills can make all the difference to life, whatever your age. For children, it can help them with various areas of learning, such as imagining characters when they’re reading or creating stories, to livening up their experience of play. For adults too, having a good imagination is beneficial and can help relieve boredom and enhance enjoyment of fiction, plays and films.
In fact, research has shown that children who have an active imagination and use it well tend to:
- play better with other children
- do well in school
- be able to handle anger and other emotions better
- be happier
- better able to amuse themselves and play on their own.
All these are great reasons why it’s a good idea to help develop your child’s imagination skills. Although toddler’s are naturally inquisitive and have basic imagination skills, the more you can do to hone these skills, the better. Here’s how.
Reading And Enjoying Books
Reading and developing a long-term appetite for books is one of the best ways of generating a child’s imagination skills. Picture books are great for early learners, helping both language, vocabulary and reading skills, as well as fuelling their imagination. When you’re first developing an interest in books, choose picture books that are colourful, fun and interactive.
Make use of the services at your local library to introduce your toddler to a wide range of different books and try out a range of topics. You’re likely to soon find favourites that he’ll want to hear over and over again.
Making Up Stories
As well as reading books, it’s great to make up your own stories and get your child involved too. For example, he could come up with characters for you to form stories around, choose a theme for the story or suggest ideas of what might happen next. The more fun and effort you put into it, the better, so get those funny voices and unusual accents going!
Encourage Imaginative Play
Play is one of the things that young children enjoy most, but you can enhance their play experience by doing all you can to encourage imaginative and pretend play.
Acting out different situations is great, as is imaginative play that involves pretending to be a: wizard, elf, king, queen, superhero or motor racing driver. You can add an extra element to their play by providing plenty of props to inspire them. A perennial favourite prop is clothing in which to dress up in (either child size or adult castoffs), or even something as simple as empty boxes in which they could create pretend dens or secret worlds.
As well as helping a child’s imagination develop, pretend play is also great for helping them deal with social and emotional issues occurring in their life and make sense of situations they may otherwise not understand. Toddlers often enjoy playing on their own, but as they get a bit older and develop further, they’ll be more adept at playing with others and will gain heaps of extra skills by learning to share and play cooperatively together.
Play should form a big part of a child’s life and you can be sure that if they’re playing creatively and incorporating a fair bit of pretend play and reading, then their imaginations will be growing and developing all the time.