Saturday, April 12, 2014

5 Ways to Help your Toddler's Imagination Grow

My son is such a little ham. I catch him flying around the house like an airplane and some how change into a car, then a machine. Oh, sometimes I can't help but laugh at how absolutely adorable he acts. I love the possibilities he creates for himself, who knows where it will take him. 

I found some really great ideas to help promote your child's imagination. Try these 6 ways to help your toddler's imagination grow.

"Imagination is the Key": Photo Credit by Bianca Alice
Multiple Areas
Promote creativity by making different areas such as, a kitchen for the chef's, or a tent set-up and ready to become a cave for explorers, or even a hide out for your little bear. Through out the day remember that you don't always have to have every hour with activities, instead give your child the opportunity to play on their own. By doing this you are also encouraging independence and confidence.

During my son's free time he creates railroads with his train tracks, every time making different routes to destinations all through his room, down the hallway and into the next room. We don't help him unless he asks (which he usually does not) and he will be there for a couple hours into his own world filled with trains. It's such a great site to see.

The Simple Toys
This is referring to all those cartoons that are on TV or in movies with your toddlers favorite characters in them. Just note that if a kid recognizes a characters voice or personality, they are more likely to be more rigid about what they will and will not do. Example, they will portray that specific character's personality traits, because they are in their mimicking stage. Try getting basic cars and trucks, blocks for building, dolls, kitchen, sand box, and stuffed animals. Even play toys that make sounds or move at the push of a button allow your toddler to interact with the toy with simplicity, instead of high-tech gadget toys that make them come up with their own sound. 

A good Old time favorite that my son has now, and is getting the hang of is Lincoln Logs. Remember those? Yes, they're still around. So freakin' awesome. Making all kinds of cabins, and water feeding areas for your animals. Good times!

Take Note
When your toddler is in their own imagination being a dog, or a cat, feel free to join them in play. If your toddler rejects how you are interacting with them or their story, back off. Remember that this is normal, so kid's use dramatic play as a soothing mechanism for themselves and do not want anyone else to play.

Sometimes my son will be pretending he is a train, the hallways are his tracks and he will transform into a car, then a truck. During this time I will try and join him as another vehicle of some sort. Half the time he allows me to play, and the other half he'll start saying "No Mama, no!" or "Sit down... watch". I don't take it personally, just smile and leave him be. He's perfectly content at what he's doing and doesn't need any further attention at that moment. So fun to watch though.

Read, read, read...
Reading is very important in a child's learning. It encourages more than just imagination but also vocabulary. The more they see the words, letters, and pictures it will become like second nature for them. Choose books that are simple with basic sentences. Limit e-books that are overly animated because it will be too much for them to take it all in. They are still learning the basics. Board books are great for toddlers and will last a lot longer because your little one will probably want to read that same book repetitively. Also, have them weigh in their opinion and/or ideas about the story you're reading to them. Ask them to point out animals or objects in the pictures; or if the dog is going to find his way home. Try to maintain enthusiasm throughout the story to keep your toddler hooked into the story.

Personally I choose some books that have the alphabet in them to introduce the letters along with a story line in them. One of my son's favorite one's is the "Thomas the Engine ABC Book". At 2-1/2 years old he could read the book by himself. It's amazing what kid's remember when you take the time with them.
Arts & Crafts Time
This one is a must; having art supplies around at all times. Or even if you create an art corner where your toddler can let their imagination run wild. Stock up on painting supplies, stuff to draw with, foam cut-outs, play-dough or anything clay-like for sculpting, these are great ways to get the creative juices flowing. You can pick out a story or make up a story and have your child illustrate it. Use the play-dough to create shapes, animals, or characters.

My son's favorite thing to do is build rockets and trains out of empty toilet paper rolls. Simple, but a lot of fun for him. We use paper, stickers, pipe cleaners, ribbon, and glue to create these masterpieces.

Till' next time, have fun with your children!
~Bianca Alice
Do you have any great ideas for activities that will help toddler's imagination on expanding their creativity? Feel free to share about it in the comments below or link back to your blog/site.

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