Feed the imagination

Toys that inspire imagination in your child are incredibly important, a good imagination helps build critical thinking skills and promotes creative problem solving among many other benefits.  Imaginative play helps your child understand the world around them by effectively ‘trying on’ different personas, worlds and ways of doing things.  There are a huge variety of imagination inspiring toys and activities available, read on for our two favourites.

Non-Specific toys

Many toys on the market today are very specific about what they do and sometimes only work when used in a particular way. To encourage your child to come up with there own games and adventures look for toys that are open to interpretation.  The Bilbo is a wonderful example of this type of toy, sturdy enough to be sat in or on and light enough to be worn as a helmet or used as a shovel the possibilities are endless. With non-specific toys be prepared for your child to ask “But what do I do with it” especially if they are the type of child who follows lego instructions to the letter and is reluctant to build their own creation. In response, ask open-ended questions such as “what could it be?”, “can you sit on it?”, “what happens if you put it upside down? to encourage curiosity about the object.

Role play

Pretending to be other things is a great way to fire up a chads imagination.  For kids who can read single words why not write down different occupations, animals and objects on pieces of card or clean lollipop sticks. Have you child choose one at random and then they can act out being whatever is written on the one they selected.  Make use of open-ended questison with this activity too. Asking “what is the rabbits favourite thing to have for dinner?” or “what does the doctor do for fun?” will encourage you child to create a whole world around the persona they are taking on.

A dressing up box can help add an extra frisson of fun to this activity; have your child chose 3 or so items from the dressing up box to go with the card they pulled and then have them explain what each item is for like re-purposing a long scarf as a fire hose or using a pair of big socks as work boots.