Cultivate the Imagination

William in character

William in character

How imaginative are your kids? It’s only natural that our kids express themselves through imaginative play, especially beginning around age 3. On Monday, I talked about the benefit of taking our kids outdoors for some play in nature. The same holds true for imaginative play.

Imaginative play is so good for our kids. When they act out their little scenarios, with a toy or simply in their minds, they are expressing a true, developmentally appropriate form of creativity. I discussed the many important benefits of imaginative play about a year ago, and my philosophy remains the same. Given that there are only 24 hours in the day, I would much prefer that my boys have more time for imaginative play than learning their multiplication tables. There is a place for both, but I believe that imaginative play does more for our kids’ ability to create and learn than rote memorization does.

We are not the family that does flashcards for fun. If you came to my house, you’d be much more likely to find my boys raiding their costume bin or setting up a Lego battle than sitting at a table doing school work. The interesting thing about it is that my kids are smart (if I do say so myself). William is a year ahead of grade level in math and reads several grade levels ahead. Lucas is in pre-K and is reading. He will listen to a story, and without skipping a beat, will be able to narrate it back to me (tell me what happened in the story).

As is the case with outdoor time, if we give them the freedom for imaginative play, they’ll be that much better off when it comes to academics. Yes, imaginative play takes time away from school work, but if we did nothing but school work, I doubt we’d be any farther ahead. I believe my boys do well academically because we spend time outdoors and play imaginatively, not despite it.

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