- Melanie Notaras
Why Imagination is Important for Developing Your Child’s Future
My daughter had her friend over for a play date today, and they wanted to cook. There were leftover egg whites in the fridge and I suggested they make meringue. After a couple of minutes they’d mixed the eggs and sugar in the wrong order and it wasn’t going to work. Oh what a calamity! Could we start again? No, too many eggs used. I came up with an alternative … angel cake (it's baking in the oven now).
My solution came from a mixture of imagination and experience. So I want to ask you this: how are you encouraging imagination in your school-aged child?
Many kids squirm when presented with a creative task, especially writing. They resent it because they think they’re going to fail. So they don’t try. One big reason - because they can’t generate ideas on demand.
But they’re kids – they’re supposed to be full of imagination, right? Well, how easily can you generate ideas on demand? It can be hard. Like any muscle, imagination wastes away if we don’t use it, and imagination on the whole isn’t encouraged in our society. Our kids are trained to become useful citizens with good occupations: engineers, scientists, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, plumbers, electricians, chefs and – you know what? If you want good ones, they need imagination.
Albert Einstein once said that the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. He’s right. You can prove a theorem without any imagination; but you must first imagine the theory you want to test.
With imagination every task becomes better. Entrepreneurs don’t just imagine commercial opportunities, but create social change. Plumbers don’t just fix broken pipes, but create water saving systems. Mathematicians don’t just analyse numbers, they create new systems of thought that affect … well, everything!
Want a future scientist? Try them on science fiction. Most scientists in western culture will they tell you that as a kid they devoured science fiction – and that the imaginative stories were an integral part of sparking their curiosity in science. They’re scientists (or inventors) often because deep down they’d like to make those sci-fi fantasies come true.
Why is imagination important for kids, and for their future? Imagination helps them empathise with others, which helps them build social connections. It helps them find solutions to problems, which can create an enabling attitude and improve their self-confidence and well-being. Imagination helps them consider other possibilities, challenge restrictive norms, even question suspicious activities - keeping them learning or safe. It alleviates boredom, and best of all, imagination can create a lot of joy. And life is meant to be joyful.
Encourage your child’s imagination through play, books, art, conversation and experience. Make imagination an everyday occurrence. Let your child’s imagination shine – it will change their world today.
Maybe tomorrow, the rest of the world too.
My School Adventure customises gamebook adventure novel The Art Show That Came To Life At [Your School Name Here] to schools including 4 real teachers as characters and 22 different endings, as a unique and exciting reading fundraiser for schools. Stay tuned for our second novel, The Science Fair That Went Berserk At [Your School Name Here]. For more information on how we can assist your school please visit www.myschooladventure.com.
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