March 27, 2017
My favourite children's book is titled "Not a Box" by Antoinette Portis. I encourage every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, caregiver, educator, etc. to get a hold of this book and read it for themselves. It gives such great insight into the imaginations of young children and the importance of the exploration and learning that come from them.
It is so key, when living and working with young children, to revisit our own early childhood and remember all the incredible things we did and created simply from our imaginations.
I remember the incredible blanket forts my sister and I created under our big old dining room table or in the crawl space of our house. I remember building a brick wall with discarded pieces of brick from the contractors in our new subdivision and good old fashioned mud. I remember creating an intricate doll house for my Barbies with a cardboard box, paint, markers, fabric and other odds and ends. And the dress up clothes were plenty in my playroom; dad's old button up shirts, mom's old scarves, purses, shoes and plenty of beads and bobbles. Those were the good old days!
Children's imaginations drive them to explore their surroundings, discover new things and experiment with life roles. We need to give them the freedom to express what is in their mind through play, exploration, music, dance, etc. We need to provide for them open-ended play materials (cardboard boxes, sticks, pieces of fabric, old cell phones, odds and ends) to make their imaginations come to life. We need to fill their world with opportunity to explore their minds.
AND we need to join in on the fun, tap in to our own imaginations and explore the world together with them. Trust me, you will be glad you did!