I can't help but feel that our kids are fast losing the concept of imaginative play. Children seem to be involved in way too many passive activities with handheld games and video/TV watching. These things can so easily take over our kids' minds. It seems to me that they rarely have to think for themselves any more. They are too busy watching all the action instead of being busy creating it!
When we think of the many things we did as kids it's a wonder we're still alive. We would stay outside, often well away from home, and our parents often had no clue where we were. I understand that we couldn't safely do that now. The world has changed so much. If the weather was fine our parents would send us outside. As long as we were home before dark our parents were happy that we were playing and using our imaginations. We didn't have the competing technology that children have today. Yes, we do have to think about safety since there seems to be so much more awareness of 'stranger danger' then we ever knew as kids. However, we do not need to allow our kids to be babysat by social media either.
Your children can play in the backyard, building play huts and running under the sprinklers when it is sunny, making tunnels out of plastic pipes to run their cars down, or do artistic activities inside. You can involve them in helping you make little carts to run down slopes outside. They can make shapes out of clay or mud. You can show them how to make and decorate cupcakes which they can eat later. If they are involved in the creation as well as enjoying the end product, it will teach them that if they persevere there is a reward.
Taking your kids to the library will allow them to explore the kids' books that are available. Some will read stories that require their imaginations to run wild. Or, they can find books on how to make things that they can create at home, maybe with your help.
A visit to a hobby store is an excellent way of firing your kids' imaginations. As they wander the aisles they can start creating things in their minds, such things as drawing a picture and sticking glitter, grasses, beads, seeds, feathers and such on it. Maybe the art can be framed and hung on the wall to be enjoyed by the family or be given away as a gift.
When our daughter was only 4 years-old she was looking for something to do so I can remember vividly giving her an egg carton, string, aluminum foil, yarn/wool, felt tipped pens, some glue and a cotton reel. She disappeared for some time and came back to show off her handiwork. She had made an alligator. Soon we discovered she had a real creative flare, particularly in art. This oil pastel drawing below is a sample of her work as an adult.
Whether indoors or outdoors we need to be encouraging our kids to run with their imaginations. You just never know where it will lead them as adults.
Link to Kristee's artwork:
Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families