We spend the first few years of a child’s life trying to introduce them to what they need to know and understand. Grass is green. The sky is blue. You use your fork to eat instead of your fingers. Around the age of three, children start to understand the difference between imagination and reality. But sometimes we see children’s imagination as a threat to their understanding of reality. When do our corrections start to stifle that imaginative process?
Imagination is not only for developing artistically. It will also impact your child’s ability to excel in math and science, develop empathy for others, and expand on their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. When you allow a child to explore their imagination, you are helping prepare them for a multitude of studies down the road through hands-on, active participation.
Making Choices… and Sometimes Mistakes
Instead of shutting something down when a mistake is made, use these opportunities to teach and allow your little one to grow. Sometimes mistakes can lead to something new and unexpected, and other times it leads to a dead-end. Allowing your little one to make those choices is part of the journey. Give your child not only a choice in what they do while they are playing, but also allow them to choose what they want to do.
When engaging in creative play, things might not go where they are “supposed” to go. That pair of shoes might suddenly become a pair of gloves. Your broom isn’t just for cleaning, but also a horse to ride around the stable. The baby doll might sleep in their makeshift crib made out of an old shoe box instead of that nice store-bought bed. While this might make things a bit messy, you are giving your child space to think outside of the box!
Ask those questions
You can invoke curiosity with leading questions that will get your child thinking! Questioning teaches young children that it is a natural part of the learning process. When you’re building a tower, you can ask, “What would happen if we take this block away?” or when you spot an airplane in the sky, you can ask, “What would you do if you could fly?” Ask comparative questions, such as “How is playing in the snow similar to playing in sand?” or a clarifying question, such as “Why do you think we need to take a nap?” Consider these types of questions and watch your little one’s mind run wild with all the possibilities!
During the preschool years, it is important to encourage imagination in a child’s daily learning. At Crème de la Crème, we use imaginative elements within our fully-enriched curriculum. Students are encouraged to use expressive language to talk about their feelings in our Character Education program, develop their own stories in our Language Arts program, and engage in dramatic play. We encourage active participation and for your little one to flex those creative muscles in the Crème de la Crème learning environment.