Imagination is the ability to create new images on the basis of the experience, using memories of various sensations (pictures, smells, touches, sounds) and feelings. It is closely related to perception, emotions and memory. The child listens to the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, while he paints all the adventures of her, and that is why the story brings such a response in his soul – he sincerely worries about the little girl.
The brighter the pictures in his imagination are, the greater the impression a fairy tale will make on him, the better the images will be remembered. The next day (or a week, a month, a year) the child will draw a picture, write a story or insert an episode into the game that strongly resembles the story of a girl who went to the grandmother through the forest: his imagination will work again, pushing him to use the bright image that once impressed him and aroused emotions.
The baby begins to navigate in the world due to its sensations (first of all, sight, touch). Various images that are combined with certain sensations and emotions are preserved in his memory – initially vague (a feeling of peace and warmness next to mom or pain and fear during a fall).
In the future, these memories arise for the child in various combinations, at first completely unconsciously, but gradually he learns to arbitrarily combine them to cause certain sensations, or uses them as symbols.
By about two years old, the imagination begins to develop rapidly. First of all, the child’s play becomes more complicated: he does not just carry a teddy bear behind him, but “puts him to sleep”, “feeds” him — that is, reproduces familiar actions in which he himself is involved every day, but already presenting himself in the place of an adult who feeds and stacks.
For about three years, his imagination is limited to familiar situations.
After three years, although gaming situations may well resemble household, the child begins to replace game objects. He no longer needs a real spoon to feed the bear – the wand that he found will be enough (and soon the wand will become unnecessary – he will feed the bear with an empty palm “for fun”). In games fantasy scenes begin to appear that are not directly related to the child’s experience: sailing on a ship, flying into space, the ability to conjure, etc.
At the age of 3-5, a child does not draw the line between fantasy and reality, he “truly” flies to the stars, fights or conjures (this ability to “live” fantasies may persist until school age). Often, a child is so immersed in the world of his imagination that it begins to influence reality: he imagines himself as a kitten (dinosaur, princess) and demands a corresponding attitude.
Parents do not lose anything if they support this game: the child does not want milk, but the kitten wants something! Also, the kitten can not wait to wash or comb your hair.
In addition, if a kitten has been offended and mum is chastising him, it is much easier to survive and correct than when you are being scolded for the same offense.
The more the child gains experience, the more complex and diverse the plots of games, stories and drawings become. The kid uses familiar elements in various combinations, comes up with new characters and adventures. At this age, he still speaks out loud all his fantasies or plays them.
If you observe how a four- and five-year-old child draws, you can hear a whole story about how in his drawing one soldier “thousand-dyed” shoots, and another falls into a hole – and so, until the place on the page ends.
About five or six years of fantasy gradually go “inward” – the child can already imagine a lot of things “to himself.” This is an important step on the path to preparing for school — after all, imagination will need to be used arbitrarily — for example, to imagine the conditions for solving problems.
Gradually, the child’s imagination to work more “constructively”, dreams will become more real: for example, he will not just fantasize about becoming a great commander or circus artist, but will begin to reason and even plan what he may need for this.
Modern children literally from the first years of life are constantly busy: they are developed, taught, trained, trained, educated, entertained. Among this feverish activity they rarely have the opportunity to relax. Children need this time “doing nothing”, when they can just wander around the park, listen to music, lie with a book or without it on the couch, when adults do not control them and do not interfere.
This time is not in vain at all – it is at such moments that the child ceases to be completely oriented to the outside world and learns to live the inner life, to find within itself the resources for mental growth. In the end, he learns just to be alone with himself, to be interesting to himself.
Imagination can help a child cope with stress (he just “leaves” them in his inner world and creatively processes them), to find contact with his own body (for example, to concentrate on breathing, to “turn” into hearing), to learn to focus (well is obtained with the help of simplified meditation techniques).
Imagination affects other thought processes. For example, it significantly improves memorization – the child perceives and assimilates better what he can imagine to himself and what is emotionally colored for him (that is, the child will understand and remember a certain rule better if he imagines a “visual example” in the imagination). With age, a baby with a well-developed imagination has every chance of becoming a person who can:
- flexible, extraordinary thinking, creative approach to any issue;
- find several solutions to problems (and solve non-standard tasks, tasks with a high degree of uncertainty);
- set goals, visualize them, plan ways to achieve them (that is, imagine a target situation and the entire sequence of actions that lead to it);
- assume the outcome of events, see several options for their development, the possible risks;
- quickly navigate a difficult situation, find an acceptable solution, be smart.
Often the child’s fantasies do not suit the parents; they seem to be empty. To the question “who do you want to become?” Such a seemingly already reasonable six, seven-year-old will say: “digger of holes”, “conqueror of Mars”, “superhero”, “princess”. The dream may be unrealizable, but it is precisely these fantasies that help the child better understand his feelings, decide what he likes and what doesn’t, try on this or that situation or role.
And his dreams should be treated with care and respect. Any rude twitching or mockery can hold down the desire to dream for a long time.
On the contrary, if a preschooler dreams of only “earthly”: a new typewriter, the next set of designer from his favorite series or a beautiful dress – this suggests that already at such a young age his imagination is very constrained and requires development. This seeming “rationality” of a baby may haunt at an older age with the inability to set himself big, meaningful goals, be open to a new, mechanical attitude to work.
This “flight of fancy” is possible if the child feels safe, sure that they will not judge him or scoff at him. They restrain the desire for imagination and hinder the development of creative, innovative thinking:
- disapproval of those around (“Dreaming again, get involved in business!), child’s fantasy failure, denial;
- separation of play and learning;
- grades and criticisms: to be free to create, the child must feel that he is doing it “just like that,” that this is not a lesson, where you can do something “right” or “wrong” and where you will definitely be compared with others and put evaluation;
- rigid imposition of a single “correct” point of view by parents;
- instilling stereotypes of behavior and ideas (“a girl cannot become a fireman,” “ballet is not for boys,” “the sun in the picture should be yellow with rays,” etc.).
Thanks to the imagination, the child creates new combinations of fragments of memories, images, sensations. The basis of his fantasy will always be a transformed experience – in his stories, games, even obsessive fears, snatches of scenes known to him, fairy tales, conversations, cartoons will be traced only in a new, sometimes very bizarre combination. When observing adults, it becomes obvious that the so-called creative people are more attentive to the nuances, more emotional, perceive a wider range of phenomena (flavors, sounds, shades of color and meaning, various emotions in which they can understand).
That is why their “palette” of images and symbols is greater, which means that imagination and creative potential are richer. While people are pragmatic, as a rule, do not have a large luggage of memories, they are not too attentive to their feelings and sensations, they are more focused on practical results.
The richer the child’s experience will be, the more diverse sensations he will receive, the greater his future opportunities for creativity will be.
- Diversify tactile sensations (choose toys from materials of various textures, play games that stimulate the development of tactile sensations – for example, “recognize an object by touch”).
- Try new flavors and flavors.
- Go to concerts, performances and museums.
- Look at the forest, the sky, the sea (paying attention to the shades of colors), guess what the clouds look like.
- Play at hand “musical” instruments – pans, cutting boards, spoons.
To draw: by drawing, the child creates his own world, he can tell the whole story about the characters, which he pondered while he was drawing with a pencil.
It’s great if a child has room for drawing (parents hang large sheets of paper on the wall or allocate a roll of paper or unnecessary wallpaper for creativity) – then the child can draw without constraining himself with the space of one sheet.
Use for drawing not only felt-tip pens (their color is constant, it does not allow to transfer shades), but also pencils, various types of paints, crayons, coal.
You can give your child interesting tasks: draw a fantastic planet (a nonexistent animal, the most amazing dish in the world);
- consider the random kalyak-malaka and transform it into any figure;
- draw alternately: one draws the head, the second – the neck, then again in turn – the torso, legs (after one piece is drawn, the sheet can be bent so that the next player does not see what the previous one has painted);
- draw a song or a piece of music.
Read: listening to the reading of an adult (and later reading independently), the child vividly imagines all the troubles, worries about the characters.
Picture books make it easier for your child to tune in to speech perception. It is important to pay attention to the illustrations – they should not be overly simplistic, commonplace (this narrows the child’s perception) or very frightening.
Not only the plot is important, but also the images: descriptions of the characters, nature; the more nuances, the brighter and richer the picture in the child’s imagination. That is why many older children are so fond of the fantasy genre (stories about hobbits, Narnia, Harry Potter), about whole worlds inhabited by fairy-tale creatures and at the same time so believable.
To tell fairy tales: any situation of incompleteness (“And then?”) Is a challenge to the imagination.
- Make up different endings for fairy tales already known to the child;
- tell the tale in turn: the parent begins, the child develops the plot or in a circle – each adds one sentence.
- play plot-role-playing games (daughters-mothers, pirates, family of tigers, etc.), play scenes from books read or invent their own ones based on them;
- arrange mini-performances of the puppet theater (dolls-gloves that literally come to life thanks to the movements and voice of the child), the theater of shadows or the disguised show;
- to improvise – to invent “sea figures” in the game “the sea worries once”, to perform a classic acting warm-up: show the crocodile, depict a boiling kettle (the complexity of the tasks depends on age and training – the skill level will constantly grow).
Anwser the questions:
- Encourage your child to ask the most unexpected questions, never leave them unanswered, even if the question is “stupid.” If the “correct” answer does not exist (“what will happen if all of the weapons suddenly disappear?), Suggest discussing together.
- Encourage your child to ask questions to himself and look for an answer to them (set up experiments and conduct research).
- guess riddles and solve puzzling tasks;
- pick up rhymes, try to compose the endings of famous poems and your own poems (even nonsense ones);
- to come up with what the word unknown to the child would mean: “Who is such an abbreviation — perhaps a strange snake?”
Imagination will help you to continue this list!