The Power of Imagination to Nurture Kids' Future

Is it okay to tell fairy tales to our children? What if they keep believing the lies? Is it okay to tell them about the ginger bread man, Cinderella, and all other stories? Is it okay to let them play the game as bread maker - while you want them to be doctors?

For years, imagination was thought of as a way for children to escape from reality, and once they reached a certain age, it was believed they would push fantasy aside and deal with the real world. But, increasingly, child-development experts are recognizing the importance of imagination and the role it plays in understanding reality. Imagination is necessary for learning about people and events we don't directly experience, such as history or events on the other side of the world. For young kids, it allows them to ponder the future, such as what they want to do when they grow up

As parents, we know we should foster our children's imaginations -- but our busy lives often don't seem to have a place for creativity that isn't tied to productivity. Schools, too, don't know how to tackle the not-so-tangible subject.

"Imagination allows children to develop forces of creativity," says Eugene Schwartz, director of teacher-education programs at Sunbridge College, which trains teachers for Waldorf Schools -- schools known for their systematic nurturing of imagination and creativity in children from kindergarten through twelfth grade. "And that means as adults they are going to be creative individuals."

So how do we inspire this power in our children?  
Here are some suggestions:

1. Story Telling
Have your child spend 15 minutes hunting around the house for three objects he either hasn't noticed or hasn't paid much attention to before. They should come from one of the common rooms of the house, not from anyone's bedroom, and they shouldn't be fragile. When time is up, have him present you with the objects one by one. Your job is to tell him a story about that object  -- where it came from, who it came from, where you were when you got it, why you might have kept it, and just about anything at all. Do that for all three objects. Then have him make a story  -- either with words or pictures  -- that ties all three objects together.
2. 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

3. Imaginative Toys

Try some of these toys to play together with your children and share with them the whole experiment about the idea of the toys. Let them ask questions.
Learning Resources Primary Science Lab Set

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