How to Light Up the Kids’ Imagination – I
Creativity and imagination are not the stereotype we perceive them to be. It isn’t only the painters, sculptors or designers who need all the creativity they can develop! The CEOs and politicians need it too. Imagination is not limited to only the fine arts or the commonly perceived fields of a creative bent. We all need a little bit of imagination and the ensuing creativity in all walks of our lives. The problem solving skills, critical thinking and observation & analysis all develop through an evolved imagination.
Children are known to have strong imagination, but it is only a few who retain this amazing quality as they grow out. Imagination is still an underrated trait that does not get as much encouragement as it deserves. Whether it is in schools or at home, it is this quality that needs attention and inspiration. It is this encouragement, inspiration and attention that lets them see the same things in a new light and find solutions to problems that other might miss.
Some of the most basic steps in encouraging kids’ imagination is to make art through painting, drawing, molding, sculpting or building through unusual materials, giving the kids a free rein over their interpretation. The information or visual overload is to be prevented by checking the amount of electronic media they are exposed to; it is important for the kids to have a quiet unperturbed inner space that would let the imagination run wild and develop their creativity. The kids should be exposed to more natural elements and the toys that they play with should be more open ended like blocks, sand, clay or many more such. A quick list of the following activities may be introduced and adopted to inculcate in the children a stronger imagination.
Unique puppets – a fabulously creative experience where you as a parent or a kindergarten teacher may supply the kids with common, generic household items that are child friendly and have them put up a puppet show. It is always amazing when the kids come up with some extraordinary characters and stories.
Crazy Photos – dig up old photos that are of no apparent sentiment and let the kid cut them up into scraps. Engage the kid to use glue and markers to come up with altogether new faces, characters, storylines or a fantasy picture using these very bits. You may also come up with some crazy themes that the kids can relate to and would love to explore.
Stories of the Nature – accompany your child for a nature walk and pick up some ten objects from nature, each different from the other, e.g. only one kind of leaf, only one kind of stone and so on. Once back home, encourage the child to tell a story using only these objects from nature as the props or inspiration.
Out of the Box – to get out of the box, you have to be in the box first! Save the big carton boxes from your home appliances or get one from the store and gift it to your child. Let the child decide what the box is to him – home, castle, time machine or whatever his imagination dictates. Markers, paints and little help with cutouts and the box becomes a project to savor.
Fold it up – this activity is a lot more fun with loads of children. Each participant has a piece of paper and a pen. Dividing the paper into as many sections as there are participants, the first round begins with everyone drawing the head of an imaginary creature on paper and folding it up so that the head can’t be seen. The papers are then passed around and in round two every one draws in the second section of the body. This continues till everyone reaches the feet and then the whole paper is unfolded to reveal wildly imaginative monsters from everyone.