4 ways to stimulate your kid's imagination at home
They’ve said for years that TV, video games & the internet are destroying your children’s imaginations…
They are constantly fed by entertainment, 24/7, and they don’t go out anymore. And if they do they don’t know what to do and get bored instantly.
That is pretty sad, don’t you think? But it is not inevitable.
Children are learning machines, and their behavior changes according to what they are exposed to.
So, the first thing you should do is to avoid the tendency to give your kids a phone or tablet to shut them up.
That may work as a temporary “relief” for you, but it’s hurtful for children in the long term.
Try to engage them in activities that stimulate their brains and imaginations.
It’s not as hard as you may think, you can start with this list of activities that you can do inside your own home:
1. Reading Books
If you can help them love books, they’ll be set for life. Their imagination will run wild, but at the same time, they will be grounded and do well in school.
Remember that kids learn by example, so become a reader yourself, and make sure they see you doing it.
Read to them every single day. More than once if possible. Sit with them, but make it active.
You can ask them questions to check their interest and understanding.
They can pick the book sometimes, but you should be able to create anticipation and make almost any story sound exciting enough so they want to hear it.
Another trick when they are learning to read is to do it badly on purpose. If you mess the story they may get annoyed and help you out, to the point that they will take the book from you and read it themselves.
2. Using Real Tools
If your kids show some interest in mechanics and electronics, you can buy them real tools, not only the plastic toy ones.
Explain to them how the tools work and then let them experiment on their own.
Observe them from a distance so they don’t hurt themselves, but don’t interrupt their investigations.
Soon enough they will start picking things apart and then back again, so they’ll be able to change their toys’ batteries and even maintain their bike themselves.
3. Watching TV
TV only “destroys” their imagination when consumed passively without control. As with the other activities, you need to help them take a much more active role.
Engage in what they are watching and use the things they see on TV to spark conversations about real life.
Kids can learn a lot from pop culture and historical references. Ask If they know where the references came from and then explain them.
Talk to them like adults (within reasonable limits) and do not form an opinion for them, let them do it by themselves.
4. Building a Fort
This may sound more “childish” than the other activities, but playing is maybe the best way to develop their imagination...
They still need to think about building the fort by themselves, and they will improve their spatial reasoning.
I’ve found this particular couch very helpful for this: Play Couch for Kids
It can be rearranged in many ways, so they won’t grow bored. It will keep them active with infinite possibilities.
It’s also useful if you don’t want them to grab cushions, pillows, or bedsheets from different rooms and make a mess of your living room!
Here’s the link again if you want to check it, highly recommended: Play Couch for Kids
Maybe you have noticed the pattern here: anything can be stimulating for your kids if it’s not just passive consumption.
Remember, they are called “activities” and not “passivities” for a reason!
Keep engaging with your children in whatever activities fascinates them and you won’t have to worry about their imaginations anymore.