“Today you are you! That is truer than true!
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Dr. Seuss



Nothing is more powerful then a child's mind! Unfortunately nowadays kids spend too much time passively in front of the TV, watching cartoons or playing video games.  Let me guess, when you were a child you spent a lot more time outdoors, riding bicycles, rollerblading and running, right? If you are as lucky as I was you also had a lot fun climbing trees and eating fruit you just picked! Since we didn't have all these toys we have today we had to use our imagination! As parents, we should encourage imaginative play. How? Try to guide your child into discovering possibilities by themselves in a way that they will think the idea was theirs and use suggestion or demonstration with younger ones. With time they will pick up on it and start to be more creative, which is a problem-solving skill that will help them for a lifetime. You can say for example: "I see your baby doll feels cold, what do you think we could use this paper for that will warm her up?" or at the park "Oh no! mommy forgot the toy bucket! What could we do with the sticks of this tree over here?" So here are just a few suggestions:
  • Imagination for TV lovers: watch a recorded  program, preferably one that is narrative. Stop between 5 and 10 minutes before the end and make a game of everyone guessing what the end of the story will be, then watch the remaining. This stimulates creativity in a fun way.
  • Imagine Paper: with a piece of paper you can make a ball, an airplane, a boat, a hat, a telescope, a clarinet, a blanket or a mat for a doll or fold in a upside down V for a little house. Or if you are really into folding try some origami for kids.

  • Imagine Art: Crayons, paint, pencils, markers, glue, tapes, popsicle sticks, play-dough and many others are all known to all. How about magazines? Cut out several pictures from magazines with your children and ask them to choose a few (less for younger ones, more for older ones) and ask them to tell a story with the pictures. They can glue them on a paper if they want to and if they are old enough they can even write the story!

  • Imagine Music: Simply put on some music and dance with your child. See if you can close your eyes, hold hands to give your child a sense of security, and ask if he/she can identify the instruments played. Clap, stomp make gestures with the rhythm and of course don't be scared to sing along!

  • Imagine at the Park: Do not bring toys, shovels and buckets to the park. Show you child how use a shoe to push the sand around to build a castle or mountain. Use a tree stick as the bridge or the miniature tree for the castle. Use leaves, pine cones or wild flowers to decorate the building! Or ask them if they could use the stick to draw or write on the sand. Or if you really want to have fun build a miniature tree house like the one on the top of this page! Make it a family event and then compare the  similarities and differences of each family member's ideas.

  • Imagine on your Backyard: Pretend to be a scientist! Grab a couple magnifying lenses and see what kind of creatures and plants you find. Then talk about them or ask you child to draw them. 
These are by no means the only ways you can encourage your child's imagination, but rather, just a few examples of how you can add some creative fun to your day.
Not very creative yourself? Try these:
Free activities for kids
”One of the virtues of being very young is
that you don't let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” 
Sam Levenson

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