Imagination: It's What's Behind All Our Books
Several years ago, I wrote an article about imagination deficit in young children.
The article was published in an international professional journal for early childhood
educators – credentialed teachers and certified child care providers of children from birth to
8 years old. The focus was not just why imagination is a critical component in the overall
development of young children. I also wrote how adults can help foster the development,
and use, of imagination for children in their classrooms, child care centers and homes.
And that’s why we created our ‘Adventure Thru Imagination Books’.
We want to encourage adults to help foster imagination in young children by reading our books. Not by just reading them, actually. By engaging with a child, while reading the story or book. And here's how easily you can do that.
Involve the ‘audience’
Even if it's just one child, start by asking simple questions while reading and after the story has ended. This helps your child become an active participant in the story. These questions can serve as prompts for interesting conversations about the book and are not yes/no answers. The questions to pose can be easy and work with a child as young as 3 years old. Try these and see what fun you and your child, grandchild, student or familiy member can have, while extending the enjoyment of reading a book together.
Here are some ideas to get you started to start:
What would you do, if you met a purple frog? What would you say?
What if you saw a cow dancing or heard a dog singing? What would that look or sound like?
Which character did you like best? What did you like about that character?
Can you think of a different ending to this story?
What would you change, if anything, about (character’s name)?
Would you want (character’s name) for a friend? What would make him/her/it a good friend?
Wondering why imagination is such a critical component of a child’s healthy social, emotional, physical and intellectual development?
Think about how imagination has impacted our lifestyles and the quality of own lives. Professionals from various fields asking “What if…?” have produced vast advances in
medical care and diagnosis including organ transplants, prosthetics and alternative treatments;
development of digital devices and the internet;
streamlined transportation and delivery of goods;
improved car safety and buildings that are better designed to withstand elements of nature; and
changes in educational programs to meet the different learning styles and needs of students, children and adults.
Did you know that fostering imagination in children helps develop Executive Skills such as problem solving and critical thinking?
Trying out different ways to solve a problem by imagining how each would work and imagining what would happen if decisions were made differently gives kids opportunities to try out different scenarios. Even ‘pretending’ while role playing allows children to imagine how to handle difficult social situations and work out relationships with others.
Books open children to new worlds, new ideas. And imagination has never been just child’s play. It’s as important to a child’s healthy overall development as is their need for activities that help them develop physically, mentally, socially and emotionally.