Think back to your childhood.
Did you love to play dress up? Did you host tea parties, or create elaborate stories with toys? I sure did, and my son does, too. Imaginative play is an important part of childhood. Children constantly practice creative thinking and problem solving skills just by playing pretend.
Recently, my son wanted to dress up as a ninja. We didn’t have a ninja costume, so he went through his drawers and pulled out navy blue thermals. When he inquired about a mask, I invited him to think about another way to create one, since we didn’t have one on hand. He took another pair of pants and placed it on his head like a hat, then wrapped the pant legs around his mouth area. He then jumped on to his bed and did a roll, before ducking behind one of his pillows. I couldn’t help but smile as he happily played ninja in his room, coming up with the outfit and story line on his own.
This is just one of many examples of how my son has used his imagination and creative problem solving in order to bring his ideas to life. Be it pirates, a viking adventure, a cat, or a Minecraft character, he uses what he has to create his vision the way he wants it.
I was also quite the imaginative child. Yes, I did end up in a creative field, but that’s not the only way creativity has shown up in my life. When I learned more about ADD and why I had a hard time retaining information, I was able to create new ways to study and remember. This especially helped me in college. I love to think out of the box when it comes to solving problems, and I see possibility everywhere I look. Inspiration finds me in some pretty unusual ways. I can even take a seemingly ordinary moment and turn it into a memorable art piece, taking the viewer back to that real moment.
Imagination, to me, is so much more than playing pretend or painting a picture. It is the fundamental stepping stone to creative thinking, in any medium and form. We encourage it in our home for our son and for ourselves, and I’d like to encourage you to get back in touch with yours!