Guest Blogger: Melanie Nichols
This March, we are sharing a special series of blog posts from Melanie Nichols. This series was originally posted in February 2021. You can find Melanie and her blog here. If you would like to submit to our blog, please email us.
A rocket, a boat, and a castle too? You can have all that and more with a big box and a healthy dose of imagination! Imaginary play has always been a cornerstone of childhood fun and is also a very complex and important part of their development. Research shows that using the imagination is beneficial for adults too. Both kids and adults who regularly use their imagination are more creative thinkers and better problem-solvers. A good imagination gives us a way to visualize a better future when we are facing challenges, as well as a way to mentally escape when we need a break. And, like sharing humor with the kids we love, enjoying imaginary play together helps us connect with our kids and builds a foundation of positive shared experiences.
While we often think of pretend play as dress-up clothes, stuffed animals, and doctor’s kits, there are other ways we can engage in imaginary play with our kids. Building with blocks or Legos, making forts, drawing pictures, and reading books are ways to use our imaginations together. We can also involve kids, especially as they get older, in other activities that use imagination, like goal setting, story-telling, and role-playing new or difficult situations. It can be hard to do in our busy world and days full of rushing around, but one way to love on our kids (and ourselves) is to set aside time and space to get lost in an imaginary world, sometimes together and sometimes on our own.