Supporting kids’ capacities for social-emotional imagination – i.e. their abilities to see and understand alternative perspectives, emotions, courses of action and outcomes for oneself and others in the short and long-term future – is unfortunately missing in many classrooms today, with very little imaginative play.
This is a huge loss because using your imagination directly translates into beneficial creative behaviours – behaviours demonstrating complex thinking, deep learning and overall well being.
Why is it important?
Spontaneous, voluntary and actively engaged play gives children the opportunity for exploration and developing their creativity through exploring and interacting with their environment. It also gives kids opportunity to use their imagination through creating complex stories that are fluid, change in a moment and relate to a specific place or context. Rogers (2000) suggests creative connections are made while children play – stimulating opportunities for self-expression, problem solving, communication and building social relationships. This is achieved through play being inherently enjoyable to and self-motivated by the individual, allowing for engagement that is personally interesting and meaningful.
Tips to promote imaginative play
- Play to Play – don’t have a preconceived outcome when encouraging or engaging in play
- Provide Props & Toys – stimulus is incredibly important for play and is designed for this reason! Take a look at our great selection of imaginative play toys
- Get Involved – playing with parents, care caregivers, siblings and other children provides a context rich in interaction and and diverse learning opportunity.
Shop imaginative toys…
Gotlieb, R., Jahner, E., Immordino-Yang, M. H., & Kaufman, S. B. (in press). How social-emotional imagination facilitates deep learning and creativity in the classroom. In R. A. Beghetto & J. C. Kaufman (Eds.). Nurturing creativity in the classroom (2nd Ed.). New York: Cambridge