How imagination contributes to the childrens’ development
Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” There are countless inventions that originate from imagination. It’s doubtless to say that people can be aware of how imagination can boost both human intelligence and creativity. However, this is more crucial for people to realize that what should be the proper way to utilize our imagination when it applies to our actual lives.
When human society quickly comes to the digital era, we can no longer avoid the topic of the development of imagination along the way of children’s growth. We all agree that the cultivation of imagination should begin with the infant and toddler stages. It is only a matter of how to explore the best way to cultivate children’s imagination based on the physiological and psychological characteristics of children’s imagination.
Tips to foster children’s imagination
Seldomly do parents or educators put emphasis on imagination for a child’s overall development. Especially as children grow older less and less emphasis is put on imagination, and it can even be suppressed at times as it can be seen as an inability to focus. However, the importance of this cognitive ability is highlighted by Sally Blythe, the director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology and child psychologist, where she quoted that “imagination is the ability to create visual images in the mind’s eye, which allows us to explore all sorts of images and ideas without being constrained by the limits of the physical world.” Furthermore, she added that stronger imagination is directly correlated to a children’s problem-solving skills, coming up with new possibilities, new ways of seeing and being. These are all important factors in critical thinking that will prove to be useful for the child throughout life.
Pretend play is one of the most common ways a young child will engage in their daily playtime, especially with toys that can add to their imaginations. Over the last 75 years, researchers have found numerous advantages imaginative play has on the normal development of a child. Research by Berk, Mann & Ogan, (2006) suggests that make-believe games are precursors to important aspects of self-regulation including reduced aggression, delay of gratification, civility, and empathy. Moreover, when children adopt toys into their play, the effects occur naturally. The benefits, however, do not end with increased self-regulation skills. According to research, a school atmosphere where pretend games are encouraged, or simply allowed in the curriculum or break time of children has been shown to increase greater amounts of curiosity and learning skills in preschoolers.
Imagination supports learning and gaining knowledge for children in two main ways; revisiting existing knowledge and building on top of them for further possibilities. Children like to depend on their imagination to think about prior knowledge and experiences, which expands their understanding of such experiences. After revisiting such experiences, stronger imagination allows them to dive deeper and explore what’s possible past their current knowledge.
Children are naturally imaginative and playful, however, adults or parents can further encourage this in the following ways.
- Show that you value their imagination by encouraging them to play and talk using their thinking and ideas
- Life can get busy more often than not, so make sure that your child has enough free and unplanned time to pursue their interests and ideas
- Introduce toys and help them build a story around the toys to introduce new elements
- Showing your playful side can encourage your child to do the same
Toddlers have no imagination before one year old, and they begin to have some factors that can foster imagination between one- to two-year-old. After the age of three, children’s imagination has no intended purpose, no theme. Their imaginations are often stimulated by the exterior factors automatically and unconsciously.
We fully aware of the essential role the toys can play in the children’s intelligence development. That’s the mission and purpose Exploratoy adheres to. Now you may have a look at https://exploratoy.com/collections/all. Pick a toy for your children and let them naturally explore and grow!