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Imagination is innate in children but being over-scheduled can impact their ability to play creatively. One of the greatest gifts of this quarantined Spring is that children get to slow down and PLAY! Imaginative play encourages problem solving skills, both creative and logical thinking, and emotional skills such as self-regulation and empathy. Tune into your child’s ability to use their imagination. Are they talking or singing out loud as they play? Are they making up their own pretend stories with toys? When faced with a challenge, how quick are they to ask for help? How can you encourage them to come up with their own solutions before you solve the challenge for them? As a caregiver, you play an important role in supporting them as they build this muscle of the mind.
In order for imaginative play to take place, children must be given the chance to to lead AND make a mess. Your job as their grown-up and playmate is to provide a safe space that they can explore freely. If you are participating (which you do not always need to be), you must also go along with their narrative. If they want to be a green cat on its way to mars, your role is to be the fellow cat astronaut in the spacecraft. Adults can help children to stretch their imagination by asking open ended questions.
Use this video to help your child activate their brain and body! The last song “Magic Freeze Dance” by Hip Hop Jen can be used as a playtime starter. After the video ask your child to recall the characters in the song. Ask them to tell you a story about their favorite one. Remember to follow up with open ended questions and to commit you your character! The more engaged you are, the further their mind can run!