In the last few months my 3-year-old’s imagination has really started to blossom. I enjoy listening to him tell “stories” about his experiences. They are always full of great imagery and his own unique perspective on things. I’m often caught off guard by how astute his observations are. His budding imagination has also fueled a new kind of play. He still loves to just play with stuff and build blocks or drive trucks, but now he creates worlds to go with is play. He wants to pretend.
It delights me to see this new adventure in play. But what I’m really fascinated by is how most of his imaginary play is inspired by his most favourite moments with us. For example, this past spring he helped with our annual clean-up of stuff (boxes and other things that just accumulate over winter). It involved getting a load ready to take to the waste/recycling depot. He found this tremendously fun. He loved just getting in and helping daddy load up all the garbage and recyclables. His face shone from the excitement of working with his daddy and being able to be involved. This translated into one of his most favourite games. A trip to the grocery story is a fantastic outing now because he pretends he’s the garbage man. He hops on the end of the cart (I know, I know, but really youth is for fun stuff!) and loads up everything I give him just like a garbage man.
His other favourite imaginative activity? Camping. This brings endless hours of fun for him. We are campers, but admittedly haven’t had lots of opportunity to go since our children were born. We’ve been camping with him all of three times. But it obviously made a huge impact because he’s always wants to play camping. We got him his own little tent, he sets it up all over the house and is constantly asking if we want to play camping. We pretend to roast marshmallows, to drive to the campsite, to pack our favourite things to bring along.
It’s delightful because it demonstrates how much experiences we have as a family make a difference to him. It clearly illustrates that what we do also has an impact him, not just what we say and teach.
I recently read this post at A peak inside the fishbowl called All the world is a stage. It has inspired me to think about ways I can motivate his creative play. Andrea talks about encouraging character traits and you’ll see that one tool that Andrea is using is poetry. Beyond encouraging character traits and instilling values that are important to us as a family, I also want to help him discover his unique self. As my son starts to create realities through imagination I see how important it is to foster this skill by encouraging and participating in his various worlds. Whether it be with poetry, music, family outings or just about anything else, I’m looking forward to inspiring and watching his imagination flourish and blossom in the years ahead. I think this is going to be lots of fun!
I’d love to hear what unique things you do to inspire your child’s imagination and creativity.