“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.”
Being a creative adult doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a painter or sculptor. CEO’s and political leaders, too, benefit from being creative, which lets them see things in new ways and find solutions to problems others might miss. That kind of problem-solving and innovative thinking begins with the power of imagination.
So how do we inspire this power in our children? These fun activities are a good place to start!
#1. Tell Stories
Reading to your kids isn’t about having a perfectly illustrated book, and the serene setting. It’s about the one-on-one connection, the parent and the child, with the story mediating. Storytelling may well be the cornerstone of imagination development, and doing it well, and in a variety of ways is something you can do almost every day-even if it’s only in brief moments.
#2. Make Art
Paint, draw, mold, build, sculpt. Tactile experiences are important, and giving young children free rein over their work is crucial–let them create freely!
#3. Use Natural Materials
Keeping kids in touch with objects from nature inherently inspires their imagination. So does play with open-ended toys — such as blocks or sand — that have endless possibilities!
Gather a box of assorted household items — a strainer, a shoe box, paper cups, a flashlight, whatever you can think of that’s not sharp or fragile — and have your child create a puppet show using these objects as the “puppets.” You’ll be amazed at the creatures and characters your child creates.
#5. Wacky Photos
Gather some old photographs that no one will miss (or cut out some pictures from old books) –and let your child cut them into various bits and pieces. Then get out some glue, construction paper, and markers and have them create new scenes. You might suggest a general setting such as outer space or a medieval castle, then let your child create the image.
#6. Nature Story
Take a paper bag and go on a walk with your child. Try to collect at least 10 nature objects, no more than one of each thing (only one leaf, and so forth). When you get home, have your child make a story from the objects by reaching in the bag and pulling out items one by one for inspiration. We love seeing our children come up with some incredible stories by using just a few simple items! 🙂
#7. Playing With Boxes And Cartons
Whether it be a huge cardboard box or a simple egg carton, the creative possibilities are endless! Here is a tip if you don’t know where to get those huge boxes: find a local appliance store, or buy a large, wardrobe-sized box from a moving-supply store! Set the box up in an open area in your house and let your child decide what he wants it to be — a house, a cave, a time capsule. Provide heavy-duty markers for decoration and let your child’s imagination go to work!
#8. Make Some Paper Creatures
Start by folding a piece of paper, and then pass it along to the next person. It can be quite entertaining to see what kind of creature or object a child can create!
#9. Art Tales
Go to an art museum — a small, local one is fine — and slow down for a change. Stand in the middle of an exhibit room and have your child decide from a distance which picture he likes best. Then walk up to it and look at it closely. Ask your child to tell a story about what he sees. Encourage him with open-ended questions. Find another painting and have your child create a story that connects it with the last one!
#10.Junk Drawer Game
Okay, everyone has a junk drawer (or two or three in our case). It could be one of those spare drawers in the kitchen or the top desk drawer in your child’s room. Have your child go through one drawer and pick out a dozen of the oddest, most lost-looking small objects he can find — the less anyone knows what the things originally came from and what they were for, the better. Get a big sheet of cardboard or poster board, some markers, and some dice, and have your child invent a game using all the found pieces. Then sit down and play together. Who knows? You may invent an award winning game while you’re at it! 😉
Extra idea: Brush-less Painting
Anyone can paint with a brush. For this activity, find things around the house that your child can paint with that aren’t brushes. String will work, or odd bits of sponge, broken pencils, rubber bands, strips of yarn or fabric, apples cut in half, or even a discarded action figure or doll. Spread some newspaper on a table or the floor, lay some washable paint out in small bowls or plates, give your child a large sheet of paper (at least 18 by 24 inches), and see what develops. Our littles loves going outside to gather twigs and pine needles to make nature prints. They turned out beautifully!
Do you have an idea that inspires imagination?! Share below! 🙂