“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” – Albert Einstein


Every child is born with an imagination. Children and their imagination are inseparable things. Some parents seek to build a child’s imagination and enjoy seeing their creative thoughts and actions. However, there are also parents (intentionally or unconsciously) withholding the child’s imagination, perhaps worrying that in the future the child is unable to distinguish between imaginary and real.

Most children over the age of three can tell that purple cows don’t really exist. But they enjoy opportunities to imagine and think creatively. As parents, letting children use their imagination will provide many benefits in their development.

Susan Engel, a psychologist who wrote the book “Real Kids: Creating Meaning in Everyday Lives” found that two years old children and over are actually able to understand the difference between reality and imagination. However, during playtime, they will forget the difference and do not distinguish between what happens in real life and just imagination.

Games and activities which involve imagination and creativity are ways that children learn about the world. In using the imagination, children will manipulate materials around them, express themselves verbally and non-verbally, plan (intentionally or unintentionally), act, interact and try roles that have never been tried.

Children’s imagination helps their cognitive and social development. The dream of every parent is to encourage children to achieve high and stable intellectual and social potential. In early childhood education, critical thinking skills and creative solving abilities are goals of child development.

Imagination and creativity are also skills that our children will need as they work in the future. Here are some things you can do as a parent to train your children’s imagination.

  • Doing lots of outdoor activities

The benefits of nature for children’s development are endless. Nature provides many opportunities for children to get discovery, creativity, and problems solving. Nature inspires children to think, question, and create something that helps them increase the imagination that leads to how they solve the problems they find.

Examples of activities that children can do outside to increase imagination are drawing in the sand, making designs with twigs, building a fort with branches, or just lying on the ground and looking up at the sky.

  • Creating scenarios

When children create scenarios from their minds, they will try many different roles and organize their thoughts while developing social and verbal skills. Help and encourage your child to play house, doctor, zoo, farm, space station, etc. Join in their imaginative role play by taking part.

You must let your kids lead your playtime together. If your child likes superheroes, think of the power the child might want as their own feeling of superpower.

  • Doing verbal activity

Do verbal interactive activities that can inspire and nurture creative thinking. For example, learning to make a story together. This activity will increase vocabulary and help children learn phonics.

  • Encourage artistic activities

Art is a creative expression that nourishes the imagination. Through pictures, musical instruments, or other media, art will be a means for children to express emotions, make decisions, and express ideas. When children can manipulate art materials, this will give them a sense of freedom while still encouraging focus and concentration.

In addition, art activities can build self-confidence because children gain a sense of mastery in producing something new.

  • Provide literacy activities

Make reading time memorable by creating interesting discussions using your child’s imagination. Make up stories with children.

  • Ask open, thought-provoking questions

Asking questions that provoke imaginative and creative thinking is an effective way to get children to express their ideas and share their vision. When doing this, you are indirectly imparting a message to your child that the idea is valuable and deserves to be heard. For example, by asking questions such as: “What do you think would happen if …?” “What’s the difference between a dog and a cat?” “What’s another way of doing this?”

  • Limit screen time with devices (television, film, computers, tablets, smartphones, etc)

Maintaining imagination and parenthood in the digital age is difficult. However, we need to know that the number of activities on the screen will reduce children’s creative thinking to explore the world around them. Therefore, parents need to provide limitation when you have allowed your children to use it.

Childhood is a time to nurture imagination and creative thinking. Encourage your children while they are young to develop their creativity in thinking and acting in living their lives. Good luck, dear parents!

May 9, 2021

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