28 May, 2010

Imagination, Run Wild!

"Do you never imagine things different from what they really are?" asked Anne wide-eyed.
"Oh!" Anne drew a long breath. "Oh, Miss--Marilla, how much you miss!" 
-Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

A few weeks ago I was watching a group of five year olds play at the park. Two of them were creeping through the bushes on the perimeter of the playground. Suddenly one of them hit the deck.
Quick, hide! He's coming! One of them shouted.
Who was coming? I wondered. I looked furtively around for this menacing person who had entered the park.
Nobody was there. I listened to the children a little more closely. Turns out the kids were playing a rousing game called "Secret Agent" and they were hot on the trail of an imaginary criminal. After breathing a sigh of relief that the park was indeed free of "bad guys", I realized what a wonderful thing childhood imagination is. It is like a kid super-power that lets children transform themselves at a whim or travel to another place and time in seconds!
But, just as in the beloved children's book Peter Pan, childhood imagination is short-lived and tends to vanish just as adolescence arrives. So, this week's literacy activity is simple. During this three-day holiday weekend, slow down and give your child an opportunity for uninterrupted playtime. Here are some suggestions:
  • Take some toys such as cars, trucks, plastic animals outside.
  • Use an old curtain to create a puppet theatre. Create puppets from old socks or paper lunch sacs.
  • Give your child a box filled with your old clothes and hats.
  • Fill up a kiddie pool with water and add toy sea creatures and boats.
  • Give your child a box. See what it becomes!
How do you encourage your child's imagination to run wild?

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