When we think about our children reaching an age where their imagination starts to grow along with their independence, there's a type of excitement. Will they grow up to teach others? Will they want to be artistic? Will they discover the next new thing in science? Will they run their own business?
Wishing away the time, of course, isn’t what we want! But seeing and nurturing this part of their development is something we will all truly enjoy. There are various different aspects of imaginative encouragement that all feed into a child’s development and are all equally important. In this post we’re going to discuss each of these elements and offer suggestions on how to ensure your child gets each of these in their lifestyle.
Why do we need to help develop children’s imagination?
‘Imagination aids in the development of social, emotional, creative, physical, lingual, and problem-solving skills in children.’
Imagination features in so many different ways, but all as crucially important as each other. With social and emotional development, when children imagine they often put themselves in the position of another person. This means they learn how to empathise and understand others feelings outside of their own. Also, they are being encouraged to work together, communicate and arrange a variety of outcomes, learning how to respond to different scenarios.
Creative development is synonymous with problem solving. The most obvious link with encouraging creativity is how it will develop their artistic potential. All of this depends on their imaginative capabilities to take characters out of books, invent new things and build their curiosity to discover new things.
Imaginative play also helps develop their physical abilities. The likelihood of them being excited and animated during these times is huge and this helps them develop small and large muscles, increase their dexterity and learn movements in relation with behaviours.
We love this article by MamaToyz about encouraging active play for physical development: How and why should we encourage active play?
The improvisation of acting out scenarios from their imagination is key to their communicative and language development. They have to either talk to others (or in many early cases, a row of stuffed animals!) and express what they want or work together to resolve whatever scenario they may have come up with.
It’s clear that the use of imagination is helping to develop many important skills for children and will inevitably help them in the future. Who knows, maybe one little idea might spark a hobby or career choice much later in life!
What can we do to encourage imaginative play?
Creativity can only come from your little one. Their imagination is something that only they can bring, but we can do many things to facilitate their potential.
Outdoor and indoor places can both have very positive but very different effects on the imagination. Being in nature, continually watching the world move, seasons change and having that fresh air can promote a beautiful environment for all sorts of ideas. The Wigiwama TeePees are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use and the set up also provides a place for them to let their imaginations run wild. Their sheltered style with closable doors can make them feel safe but also gives them the opportunity to act out anything they want. The comfortable interior allows them to use this space for as long as they want!
We all know that using blue light before bed can have a negative impact on how we sleep. This is why we don’t allow our children electronic devices before bed! Your bedtime routine will be unique, you might read, play a song or ensure a warm bath just before they need to sleep. All of these will promote a relaxed and soothing space so they can gently and happily fall asleep. It’s also an opportunity for their imaginations to run away with them whilst they dream.
The Wigiwama Canopies are perfect for over the head of their bed. With low light before they fall asleep they can imagine being anywhere in the world with their favourite characters. Just like the Wigiwama TeePees they provide a place of comfort and safety by gentle surrounding your child with lightweight, flowing fabrics. They also work ideally in other spaces like playrooms to create and encourage reading and other activities that will light their imagination.
Sometimes we don’t have the space to consistently have somewhere for activities to happen. Wigiwama Playmats are a great versatile option. They can be used as the central feature within a bedroom or playroom or can be unfolded in a living room to provide a space for play. Their soft, velvet texture makes them ideal for rolling, kneeling, crawling, waking, jumping and anything else they may wish to do. By placing this piece down, you’re making it clear that they have the time and space to be creative with their toys and create their own adventures.
Reading routines are essential for promoting imaginative play. Unlike TV, films and animations, they encourage children to think about the movements of characters through adventures with visual prompts. Independence is also developed in the time they imaginatively play, so making space for them to read on their own, with access to their own books is great. The collection of Wigiwama Seating ranges from beanbags to ottomans to cushions. This means you’ll be able to find something that suits your space, is comfortable for your child to spend time on and you can trust is safely and responsibly made.
If you’re thinking about changing your playroom space or creating a brand new one, check out our last post here: What to consider when designing your first playroom (wigiwama.co.uk)
Creating a space for imaginative play can make all the difference and help with children’s development. By providing a place for them to relax and think, comfortably and safely, they can begin reaching their full imaginative potential. Without this they might find it difficult to not be distracted from what they’re doing or be interrupted. Making the available time is also great to avoid any interruption and helps make imaginative play a routine. Developing this habit early will help future endeavours!