“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
– Albert Einstein
For centuries, the imagination has been the forerunner of every aspect of society. Long before cranes construct a tower, pages are covered with storylines, or 3D printers whirl with invention, an imagination is at play, dreaming each of them into existence.
Amidst a year in which everything in our world has slowed, transformed, or stopped completely, the imagination is in full force. As a parent, there’s never been a more important time to encourage it.
Today, we’re gathering a few of our favorite ways to stimulate, foster, and expand your child’s imagination.
Read for more than knowledge.
“Friends to know, and ways to grow… I can be anything… It’s in a book.” If you were a child in the early 90’s, the lyrics are almost certainly familiar. Yes, these were the reminders made by public television’s Reading Rainbow about the transformative powers of a book.
The truth is perhaps more relevant today than ever before. The immersive power of books gives children imaginative storylines while also putting their imagination to work, creating the visuals in the head.
If you’re like many people, you might think that productive reading means reading nonfiction reading. Many of today’s most influential tech giants would beg to differ. Elon Musk’s favorite books include J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Douglas Adam’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I think can agree that Musk’s productivity shows no signs of slowing down.
In the world of improv, there’s a refrain known as the “yes, and…” It’s the Segway between one performer’s tidbit and your own. When one comic says, “I hear you recently adopted an iguana,” a potential response might be, “Yes, and I named him Charles.” What does this have to do with parenting? Creativity is a vulnerable thing. Foster and encourage it, and you’ll get more of it. Shut it down, and you’ll quickly extinguish its power. So the next time your child says that they’re a princess, or that they’re drawing a flying carpet, try this for a response: “Yes, and…”
Turn life into an episode of How it Works.
We’ve all been there, exclaiming, “Get out of the kitchen! I have to make dinner.” But childhood is a time of discovery. What may seem like a routine chore to you could be a fabulous opportunity to explore for your child. Simply spreading out lasagna noodles into a baking dish? Turn your task into an activity – show your child how the noodles transform from hard to squishy after a few minutes in water. Look at how the layers of sauce and cheese create a pattern. And watch the oven window as the creation comes to a boil. Life is only routine if you make it so.