Pure Imagination

Happy summer!

Okay, okay.  We know it’s not summer – but the wishful thinking has gotten the better of us.  The temps have been up and down (mostly down) lately in the city, and it seems as though summer in the city is the only thing on our mind these days.  Especially now that we’re getting into gear and getting organized for camp!

That’s right – this year’s summer camp is Book Nook’s World of Imagination, and even though summer is still months away, our excitement about this program is giving us the warm and fuzzies.

This summer, our camp is all about using our imaginations to learn and discover.  The importance of imaginative thinking in a child’s development is vital to their growth as learners, dreamers, and doers.  Whether we use our imagination to visit an underwater oasis or adventure across the Milky Way, these journeys through thought and play open experiences for children that had previously existed only in their dreams.

But why wait until summer?  We’ve got some great ideas now that will help open up your child’s imagination and get them excited about learning in a brand new way.

{Wordless Books}

Picture books in general allow for children to engage and focus, but for more in-depth imaginative thinking, we recommend wordless picture books.  These stories made entirely of illustrations, allowing for kids to come up with their own stories.  While the pictures do nudge them in the right direction, it’s always hilarious and fascinating to hear the other details they add to craft a tale that’s entirely their own.  We’ve been singing the praises of the Journey Trilogy by Aaron Becker for years, but while you’re at it, be sure to check out Tuesday and Flotsam by David Wiesner, the many Flora books by Molly Idle, and more.

{Eeboo Story Cards}

Another way to encourage children to come up with their own stories is through a set of story cards.  Eeboo has a whole range of them, each one offering a different genre or otherworldly adventure for a little one to discover.  These cards not only enhance a child’s love of pretend, but also introduces the idea of story structure and how to understand plot, character, and setting.  They are fun and educational – what could be better? Check out their range of products here.

{Fold-a-creature}

This is an activity that we first discovered on our own, and in a different capacity – and knew it could be incorporated into a classroom setting to invoke a child’s sense of creativity and imagination.  This activity requires just a piece of paper and a marker – and, of course, thinking outside the box.  A teacher or caregiver simply folds the paper into three – and asks multiple children to add different parts of a body (upper, middle, bottom).  The trick is that the kids aren’t allowed to look at another child’s contribution – they just draw whatever they like!  The end result is often a mish-mash of ideas – people, fantastical creatures, and more.  This activity calls upon our ability to visualize and fabricate – and the final product is always hilarious.

{Charades}

A timeless classic – and still a great way to get kids moving, thinking, and having fun.  By removing language and forcing the players to rely solely on their bodies, movements, and imaginations, focus is key and allows kids and adults alike to truly engage.  The more imaginative the acting, the more involved the process, which introduces more layers to the game.  This type of resourceful thinking keeps kids guessing and keeps them geared up and ready for more.

{Unconventional Instruments}

The incorporation of music in a classroom is vital for retaining information, but for also keeping things fun and interesting.  It is an amazing tool for focus, but can also be an amazing tool for innovation.  Try bringing out unconventional instruments – pots, pans, salt and peppers shakers filled with beads, etc.  Kids can begin to understand music and rhythm on their own, and in a way that is more creatively fulfilling.  It can also open doors to a more focused practice of music – but by allowing children to discover the process on their own, it can instill a more organic love of the craft and a more unique and inventive way of understanding music and the creation of it as a whole.

Creativity is key, and we’re always looking for new ideas.  We hope you enjoyed these tidbits, and would love to hear the types of innovative play you incorporate at home!

“Imagination is everything.  It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” -Albert Einstein

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