Exercising that Imagination Muscle! April 09 2013, 0 Comments

fortsI love that Pump It Up recently launched a campaign against what they call our “imagination deficit.”  They are asking families to devote an hour a day to imaginative play (www.supportimagination.com) – their website even has an “evaluation” to test your imagination score (I sadly scored a 2 after coming up blank of other things to call pots and pans).  Yes – we all need more time to stretch our creativity but how do you find the time and how do we fill that hour of imaginative play-time per day that Pump It Up suggests?  The benefits of imaginative play are well-researched - using our imaginations helps us become better problem solvers and communicators – we empathize and relate better to others when we role-play.  Most importantly – using your imagination is just fun for kids (and us parents) – I’m amazed at how my son sees the world and all its’ promises (aka our kitchen becoming a dinosaur farm).  I never want him to lose that non-stop idea train brain, so I thought I’d put together a post of some of my favorite ideas for exercising the imagination muscle!
  1. The Imagination Box – this is still one of my favorite ideas (from an earlier blog post).  It’s a great place to house empty yogurt cartons, cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, etc. and let your kids have at it!
  2. Be OK with mess – this one is hard.  The idea of tearing down our living room to create a giant tent or pulling out the paints and brushes gets me extremely anxious but once we make it happen – I know it’s totally worth the clean-up.
  3. Model Imaginative Play – again, this is another difficult one.  Picking up stuffed toys and making them talk and move doesn’t feel all that natural but it helps stimulate the imagination for our kids and us as well!
  4. Play acting story- books – I like reading open-ended books that allow for us to act out the characters and stories and make up different endings (one of my favorites: The Mitten).
  5. Treasure-Hunt – wrap snacks (always a good incentive for participation) in bags/clothing and hide them through-out the house.  It’s a great way for kids to pretend they are a pirate/treasure hunter on a super important mission.