Cultivating imagination

18 Aug

Do you think you can? Cultivate imagination, I mean. Is it inherent? Developed? Nurtured? Cultivated?

And is it essential?

Am I the only one who finds a child without an imagination a terribly, terribly sad spectacle?

Surely not.

As Beckett said, “Imagination Dead Imagine”.

Imagination is the way we process the world. Good and bad. Staying up late, watching Criminal Minds while the husband is at work, is a surefire way to send my imagination into overdrive.

Recently I have noticed the Turtle developing a little imagination of his own. And it melts my heart. Every time. Especially when it’s a fairly giant leap, more than role play. More than pretending to eat play food. Like imagining leaves are corn or “sammwiches” and having me pretend to eat them with his endearing little “Here you go Mammy”.

I want it to continue as he grows. The only way I know of doing that is by “playing along”, when I’m allowed! And “indulging” him.

In the "jungle"

Our "elephant"

Talking to the "elephant"

It’s amazing the hours you can “waste” watching a small child pretending to cut grass with a stick, or playing cars with stones, even taking anything he can find and turning it into a tunnel. But is it a “waste”? Isn’t this what we should be doing?

How do you cultivate your child’s imagination?

(And do toys help or hinder?)

6 Responses to “Cultivating imagination”

  1. Dara August 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I am blessed with very imaginative kids (tho sometimes it doesn’t feel a blessing when they’re telling outlandish lies to teachers and strangers). I’m not sure how that happened. I was quite imaginative and I certainly “play along” whenever they are playing like that. We severly limit TV and have tried to limit those battery operated toys (we’re getting ready for a move and other than the remote control vehicles and the kid’s laptops, they’re ALL going! Yay!).
    I was completely dismayed to read a recent report that showed that a large majority of British kids thought “hopscotch” was a drink, never had had imaginary friends or played imaginary games and enjoyed Wii and football as their two major activities. Not that video games and organised sports don’t have a place in childhood, but so does plain ol’ ordinary PLAY and so many don’t do that.
    I’ll send you the link for that report when I find it again!
    Thanks for dropping by my blog!

    • turtleturtleturtle August 24, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

      It is sad to see children not knowing how to play without some kind of electronic thingymabob involved, isn’t it?
      TV is limited in this house too. And I would love to throw away all the noisy toys, but the hubby doesn’t understand my abhorrence of them and would consider the Turtle deprived if he didn’t have them :s

  2. Jemma August 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    Thomas has taken to sitting astride a suitcase and saying ‘neigh! neigh!’ I was amazed to see him start imagining things like that – it’s brilliant! 🙂

    I love your elephant!

    • turtleturtleturtle August 24, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

      It is brilliant, isn’t it! And it gets better every day 🙂
      I love the elephant too! DH got a talking to when he insisted on referring to it as “the elephant stone”! Grrrrrrrrrr!

  3. TheMadHouse August 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    It is amazing how different they can be. Mini has a huge imagination and seems to always have had, but Maxi’s is just coming out now. Enjoy them, try and go with them where they might lead, tell stories and the tutle tell you stories in return

    • turtleturtleturtle August 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm #

      He’s great for telling stories. He recaps his day almost every night and wakes up in the morning retelling the events from the day before.
      It’s great fun, watching how his mind works and seeing him grasp for words that he doesn’t quite know.

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