Imagination is one of the most important qualities to cultivate in children. It allows us to think beyond what we see, create new ideas and concepts, explore new worlds, and dream about our future. Without imagination, we’d have no art, no music, no literature, and no inventions – how drab!
Imagination is part of our creativity, and creativity is critical for success. As children grow up, they need opportunities for creative expression that allow space for daydreaming and imagining what’s possible when they grow up.
How to Cultivate Imagination
1. Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions can’t be answered with “yes” or “no.” asking little ones to explain their drawing instead of trying to guess what it is will get their creative gears turning. They will often try to come up with a story and a reason for creating their piece of artwork. Allow them space to explore their reasoning – no matter how abstract it is.
2. Allow freedom in craft time
Craft time doesn’t need to be structured with a specific design and set materials. Instead of giving kids guidelines for creating a turkey with their hand and feathers or a Santa from red paper and cotton balls, ask them to dig through their craft supplies and make something that you can hang on the fridge this holiday season. This will encourage them to think about what these holidays mean and create something in connection.
3. Have a diverse group of friends
Embrace friends of different ages and cultural backgrounds! Of course, it’s good for kids to have friends to relate to. But it’s beneficial for them to have friends they can learn from, too! Diverse friends show your little one that being different is something to love.
4. Embrace boredom
It’s all too easy to plop a toddler in front of the TV when they complain about being bored. Instead, offer suggestions for finding entertainment on their own! This helps your child get creative when they have “nothing” to do, instead of relying on screen time.