5 Ways to Encourage Kids Imaginative Play
How many times do you hear every day that modern kids don’t play the way we used to. Indeed, each generation always complains that the youngsters just spend the whole day staring at the screens of their gadgets and don’t get out and play or use their imagination anymore. You may even think about getting them an outdoor playhouse, but afraid that it will just collect debris on the back yard as kids will continue spending their free time browsing social media or playing video games.
But guess what, your parents might have felt the same about you watching TV during your summer break. And the generations before them were blaming their kids lack of enthusiasm, playfulness, and imagination on comic books, romantic novels, and so on and so forth back in the day.
In fact, childhood is indeed the time when our imagination is thriving and developing at a crazy pace. It mostly happens because a kid’s mind at this period is a peculiar combination of real-life impressions and experience and their interpretations, which may have nothing to do with reality.
In other words, kids are imaginative by nature. But how come some grown-ups seem to be so creative and inventive, while others… lack imagination? Yes, it all starts in childhood!
As it usually happens, those are parents who restrict the development of their imagination and don’t let it thrive. Let’s clarify, you kids didn’t learn to turn on the TV themselves, and they didn’t buy themselves those gadgets.
The good news, you can become your kids guide to the limitless world of imaginative play and encourage their creativity. Moreover, you get a chance to bond with them on a whole new level on the way, spending hours in their wooden playhouse, arranging a home theatre, or conquering undiscovered lands and kingdoms built out of cardboard, through pillows and… imagination!
Why is it Important to Encourage Kids Imaginative Play?
Many people underestimate the importance of imaginative play for their kids, thinking that it is a waste of time, destruction that prevents children from paying attention to truly important things such as education, family values, etc.
However, child psychologists often highlight that all the importance of play and claim that a kid who spends lots of time playing in an outdoor playhouse has more chances to become an innovative scientist or a successful doctor than the one who sits in a library all day long.
Here are only several benefits of imaginative play for your kid:
- Development of inventiveness – the ability to find new applications to ordinary things;
- Language development through inventing the scenario of the game;
- Social and emotional development as well as the artistry that goes hand in hand with imaginative play
- Learning to make decisions and think out of the box.
Those are not things that a person can learn from books. Their nature is still pretty hard to comprehend, even for qualified behavior specialists and psychologists. Otherwise, everyone would be able to become creative and inventive after taking a relevant course.
However, all those skills and qualities come naturally when your kids are turning their wooden playhouse into a Mars base, look for treasure in the backyard or stage their plays at home theatres.
And you can take an active part in that development, encouraging and inspiring them.
Here are 5 essential tips that will help you encourage your kids` imaginative play.
Provide Your Kids a Customizable Area for Play
Getting your kids a wooden playhouse is a great way to provide them a safe area to play and encourage them to spend more time outdoors.
However, choosing among numerous models and styles, thinking how they will fit your backyard, consider getting a plain wooden playhouse. Such models have numerous benefits for you and your kids imagination.
Made out of natural, non-toxic materials, they are safe for your children, pets, and the environment.
At the same time, wooden playhouses are easy to customize. Your kids can color and decorate the walls, hang shelves and posters, and customize it in numerous ways.
After all, what develops imagination and creativity more than having an opportunity to create your own universe, space, where your daydreaming about space adventures, treasure hunts, or superhero missions come to life.
“Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
- Albert Einstein
Encourage Dress-up Parties
Clothing is an international code, a non-verbal language that helps people from different cultures, social groups, and generations express themselves and communicate, overcoming the language barrier.
When it comes to children, the power of clothing is particularly significant. On the one hand, most cultures have adopted and keep on successfully imposing on their children a belief that girls should wear pink, while boys are left with blue. We also hardly ever ask our kids what do they want to wear, making decisions for them every day.
Dress-up parties are a great way to let your kids set their imagination free, create costumes for their play, or simply express their world vision through clothing.
It is a great idea to arrange a home theatre in your kids playhouse, help them create costumes out of old clothes and fabric cut-offs.
Or, you can set a week-day for wacky dress up allowing your kids to choose their own outfits, expressing and developing their sense of style and fashion, letting them make their own decisions.
It is ok to Enjoy Yourself!
Today many people complain that they start feeling guilty once they get on vacations or even get out of work. Psychologists claim that this guilt may come from the lack of imaginative play in childhood.
Make sure to let your kids understand how important it is to enjoy themselves, being totally unproductive and simply spending days at their outdoor playhouses, throwing the ball at the backyard, or kicking leaves in the street.
We all need that time-off to switch our brains and reload. Kids` brains work some extra hours studying the world around them; that is why it is even more essential for them to simply shut down from time and go with the flow of their imagination.
Introduce Role Playing
Role-playing is a great way for your kids to analyze and process social interaction and relationships within their own families.
Arranging tea parties or turning their outdoor playhouses into hospitals for stuffed toys, make-believe observatories, or supermarkets, kids learn to communicate, develop their language, imagination, and problem-solving skills.
Those types of games can be played with your kids friends, siblings, with you, or even alone in a kids playhouse filled with stuffed toys, dolls, and action figures.
Through those games, kids learn to imagine and process various scenarios, assign roles, set rules, and follow them. They develop analytical skills, the ability to collaborate, express themselves, and accept others` viewpoints.
We all know how exciting city legends can be, how inspiring are stories about our ancestors and how dreamy are fairy tales and legends about long-gone civilizations.
From the dawn of times, such stories have been passed from one generation to another, transforming and living on, encouraging people to dream of a faraway world, lost treasures, and unsolved mysteries.
You can join your kids playhouse slumber party and share a city legend with them to give them some food for discussion and imagination. You can invent your own bedtime story instead of reading it from the book. That way, you can also encourage kids to take part in the plot development offering their ideas. Or suggest that they can play private investigators and solve a mystery you tell them about or find treasure in the backyard.
Bonus Tip: Play with Your Children
For most of their childhood, parents are the center of the universe for their kids. They inspire and encourage, teach about the world, protect and introduce new experiences.
Imagination is a great power that can set a foundation for healthy and harmonic personality development, and parents are those who can steer it in the right direction.
So, get into your kids outdoor playhouse, help them decorate it, design costumes for the playhouse fashion show or theatre, or simply spend lazy summer afternoons together eating ice cream and looking at clouds, discussing what they look like.
Imaginative play can be a fun yet educational experience for you and your children. It will help you bond and express emotions, teach your kids to communicate, and reveal to you their true world vision. While encouraging imaginative play, you will learn a lot yourself, and maybe your wooden playhouse with becoming a common safe, and happy place for the whole family.
“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.”
- Lauren Bacall
Written by WholeWoodPlayhouses