7 Easy Steps to Stretch Your Child’s Imagination will help you find ways for your children to tap into their creativity. Kids have a natural sense of wonder of the world and finding ways to enhance it is easy with these tips.
“There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.”Gilbert K. Chesterton
My grandmother was a very wise woman. Her greatest joy in life was to be surrounded by her grandchildren.
She was the queen of knowing how to create a fun environment that let our creativity soar.
Half my grandmother’s basement was dedicated to ceramics with her own kiln and molds, and the other half held her doll collection and crafts.
Each time my sister and I visited her home, we knew an adventure awaited. There were pies that needed baking, crafts that begged to be done, ceramics just waiting for our artistic touch, and rehearsals for the plays we put on to perfect.
She always had fun projects for us to do and all of her grandchildren have warm memories as a result of her thoughtfulness.
Sometimes we forget how creative all children really are. When given just a few supplies, they can transform an ordinary world into a magical one.
A child’s imagination is a very beautiful thing. Take the time to nurture it.
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Here are the 7 Easy Steps to Stretch a Child’s Imagination:
1) Odds and ends
One of my favorite memories of my grandmother’s house was a one-week visit with one of my cousins.
My grandparents kept a trailer out in back of their home and my grandmother set up a table full of odds and ends that we could create cards. Ribbons, glitter, glue, scraps of fabric, and a bag of lima beans were just some of the items we used to make homemade greetings.
My cousin and I spent the whole week making the cards of “lima bean people.” We used the lima bean as the head and then all the other odds and ends we used to make hats, dresses, pants, shirts, and accessories for each card.
Not only were we fully using our imaginations that week, but we bonded by having that time to get to know each other and tell fun stories.
Every time I see a bag of lima beans in the grocery store, a warm memory of my grandmother, cousin and “lima bean people” and our creative play comes flooding back.
How you can incorporate the idea of an odds and ends box your life:
Have small cardboard boxes dedicated to “odds and ends.” Put all types of paper, scissors, material, beads, glue, ribbons, pipe cleaners, paints, stickers and anything else you can find in the box.
Have the box ready for when the kids are looking for something fun to do and unstructured play time. You can assign a project or let the kids pick their own.
Some of the things your children can make are:
- Thank you notes
- Illustrated diaries
- Paper mosaics
- Towns made out of cardboard tubes and boxes
- Christmas ornaments
- Confetti art
2) Kindness rocks
Encouraging your children to paint rocks and hide them for others to find is such a great way to teach kids to do simple nice things for others.
The Kindness rock movement got started in the Pacific Northwest and has spread rapidly throughout the world.
The idea is to paint rocks with inspirational words or beautiful pictures and then you seal them. On the back of the rock, you ask whoever finds the rock to post it on facebook to your local rock group.
Not only do you make rocks for others, but a walk in the park turns into a fun rock hunt.
For more information about the Kindness Rock Project, I wrote a few posts about it which you can find here:
3) Library card
There’s something so magical about a library. As a book lover, I have so many happy memories of being at the library and looking for that perfect book I wanted to check out.
I still love libraries, and I frequent them often. Instill the love of books and reading in your kids at an early age.
Read to them in bed, make a trip to the library an adventure, and give the gifts of books during special occasions. You can also start a book club for young children.
Find out all the upcoming free activities that your library has to offer. It’s a great way for kids to learn something new and have a chance to interact with other kids.
Some ideas on getting your child to read more books:
Have a friendly family competition on the amount of monthly books read.
Bring books with you when you’re running errands and if there’s any waiting time offer the book to your child.
Attend events the library has like readings, crafts and other fun activities. Check their calendar for upcoming attractions.
Check out different types of books. Children’s cookbooks, gardening, crafting are just some ideas in addition to picture books.
Have your children pick out topics they want to learn more about and get them the books that will teach them the subject matter.
4) Scavenger hunt
Develop a love for the outdoors with your kids by getting outside at every opportunity. Encourage them to explore their surroundings by creating a scavenger hunt checklist.
On one scavenger hunt, make them collect one of each item on the list.
Another scavenger hunt can be purely visual, like identifying birds, animal tracks or the tallest tree.
Awareness helps developing a child’s imagination skills.
Here’s some ideas on different scavenger hunts you can do:
- Spring scavenger hunt
- Summer scavenger hunt
- Fall scavenger hunt
- Winter scavenger hunt
- Flower scavenger hunt
- Color scavenger hunt
- Shape scavenger hunt
- Road trip scavenger hunt
- Inside home scavenger hunt
- Grocery store scavenger hunt
5) Photo shoot
This is an idea I wish someone had done with me. I enjoy taking pictures, so I would have loved to have a head start on my skills by learning to take photographs when I was young.
The power of your child’s imagination will soar with the different things they can capture digitally.
Here are some ideas on photoshoots kids will love:
Have your children take a picture of your family cooking or of the kids cooking. Make sure you take pictures of the ingredients and steps it takes to make a culinary delight.
Go outside and take a photo of that cute squirrel that visits your feeder every day or gets a close-up of those bees buzzing in your garden.
Chalk drawings photos
Let your children draw their masterpieces on the sidewalk or driveway and then have them take pictures.
Family pet photos
Your family pet is the perfect model to let your kids capture his or her personality on camera. Have the kids follow your pet around and get the details of his or her daily activities: waking up, eating, playing outside, snuggling with family members and any traits that are uniquely theirs.
Create a fashion show where one child is the model, and the other is the photographer. Bonus points are given for the most outrageous outfits.
You can either start with books or create your own stories from scratch.
Start with the beginning of a story like, “Once upon a time in a land surrounded by the sea, a ________lived in a tower….
Together you can fill in the blanks of the story and make your own world.
If you have more than one child, have them take turns adding to the story after every sentence. Have everyone act out parts of each scene with the different characters.
Encourage your children to make their own made-up stories and draw pictures to go with the tale. They can also use props, like their teddy bear to act out scenes from the story.
By using creative ways to tell stories, your children will develop better communication skills and an active imagination that will benefit them throughout their lives.
Some ways to make storytelling more interesting are:
- Creating different endings for the same story.
- Use different voices for each character.
- Ask your children open-ended questions about what they think of what happened.
7) Selective toy choice
Be choosy about what type of toys you bring into the home. You want toys that FUEL imaginative play. Instead of video games, pick open-ended toys that will help your child with problem-solving skills, social skills, and with critical thinking.
You never know how one toy may change the course of your child’s life forever. The girl that loves to build houses becomes an architect or the boy that loves fire trucks becomes a fireman.
Pick out toys that are:
Involve physical exercise
Artistic in nature
We’ve reached the end of 7 Easy Steps to Stretch Your Child’s Imagination. I hope you enjoyed it.
Let me know in the comments below how you liked the 7 Easy Steps to Stretch Your Child’s Imagination post and if you included any of the ideas into your life.
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