When I became a mother I read something somewhere that the greatest gift we can give our children is to take the time to get down on the floor and play with them. Having a parent meet them in their imagination is what every child dreams of experiencing. This stuck with me and runs through my mind every day. I’ve been reflecting on all the times I’ve listened to this and taken the time for the moments that truly matter and I’d like to add one change to that statement I read a few years ago. For what I have found is the greatest gift we parents can ever receive is to take the time to get down on the floor and play with our children. The number of life lessons, my children have taught me during playtime are immeasurable. It is in this space that I have been reminded of how powerful imagination is, and also how we are all naturally creative, and fully understand the connection between our intentions, our thoughts and what we create in our lives.
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It is beautiful how clearly our children understand this. If you watch any child use their imagination to create a whole new world filled with adventure and discovery, you understand just how powerful the connection between the mind and the world we create is.
Imagination brings the entire world right beneath your feet. It ignites possibilities only limited by your own mind, and the beauty of this is children don’t have any limits on their imagination. One minute they can be on a safari being chased by lions, and the next minute they can be in a spaceship taking off on a trip to the moon. Imagination is the key to creating the world we desire to live in. When we observe our children we see that they approach the world seeking to discover all the beauty it has to offer. They value the magic and the love within it and as a result, they intuitively create bliss by letting their imagination run wild.
What keeps coming to my mind around this topic is one question “How can I nurture this beautiful gift in my children?” In seeing the beauty of their imagination I have become passionate about making sure their imagination is never attacked by limits and instead nurtured, loved, and given exactly what it needs to grow and thrive.
This is a quest I am still on, but I have found a few things that my children really enjoy, that have taught them the language around this universal law of what we think we become, and what we imagine we create. I wanted to share a few of those with you today.
Taking the time every day to have story time with your kids is the single best way to interact with them and ignite and nurture their imagination. We have tried even taking this a step further, and played a game where we act it out. We each dress up like a character in the book or even one that we create that we would like to be in the book. It is a really fun way of making each of us a part of the story. There are a couple books we love that easily bring this to life. The Tickle Monster and the Boogie Monster, the kids have so much fun taking turns being the monster in the story.
2-Create a Story
Kids naturally know the structure of a story, but the fun part is they don’t have any limits to that structure, so usually their story lines run wild and its fun to watch where their minds take it. We made up a game that we like to play in the car, We call it “Story Tag” where one of us starts a story, something like this…. “Guess what! The other day I was in the jungle and an elephant came running through the trees, it was trying to find its baby and just then I turned and saw…. Jagger your it!” Jagger then picks up where the story left off and comes up with the next part of the story and tags the next person after that, and so on. Its a fun and simple game you can really play anywhere. There are other ways to create stories together it can be as simple as playing with a toy play set, or building a fort and bringing the story to life. This is also a fun way to bring this to life, this is called “And Then…Story Starters” They are these little cards that have the beginning of the story on them and then you finish the story. This is also a great way to incorporate the art of storytelling into imagination time. They have multiple volumes, you can find them here.
3-Build something life-size
There is something about a blanket fort or a spaceship made of boxes, or even just pillows on the floor in the shape of an airplane seat that takes you off to your next destination. Building something life-size makes the imagination reach a whole new level of fun. This one is simple, it's easy and thought it might require some cleanup, in our experience it brings the most smiles.
4-The floor is lava, or the couch is the ocean.
I’m amazed at what my kids have come up with when I’ve yelled out “The floor is lava!” As they run quickly to the couch and throw pillows on the floor to be able to step stone their way to the kitchen to get a drink. Even the simplest thing can turn reality into a whole new world that makes you think outside the box.
5-Bring it to life
This one is to help them see the connection between what they create with their imagination when they are playing, and what they can create in their own life. This is to teach them to dream big, and use their imagination to learn, grow and discover things about themselves and the world. There are many ways to do this but one I’ve loved doing with Jagger is I Am Statement Cards and Dream boards. From the time he was 4 years old every year I sit down with him and help him create his intentions and take the things he wants to learn or do in the year. We read them every night, and he also creates a dream board with pictures of places he wants to go, toys he wants, and things he wants to learn. He has this hung up in his room and he is so proud of it he always wants to show it to everyone that comes over. The best part is when last year came to a close we read through his statements he made at the beginning of the year and was so amazed that he had done every one of them. He was filled with wonder when he realized that every intention had come true in his life. This was a beautiful moment that he made the connection between intention and the life he was creating.
Let your kids lead the way- Remember in each of these scenarios our only job here is to spark imagination. Let your children take it wherever they are going to take it and play off of it. You are either copilot or the passenger on this journey let your kid take the driver seat and enjoy the adventure they take you on.
Keep it simple- I don’t know about you but Life is busy and crazy and amazing and fun but for us if anything is overly complicated we have a hard time doing it. For us simple is what sticks.
Do it when you think about it- This is another one that really helps me. This is not another thing to do or to check off of the running list in your head of what it takes to be a good parent, NO. Not at all. It's not something that needs to keep you up at night. Its something fun to do with your kids and the best way to do it is to just do it when you think about it. That could be once a year, that could be once a day. It really doesn’t matter, your intuition knows best and hopefully, this post just sparked a part of that for you.
Have fun!- But that’s a given.
Our kids remind us every day that we are the writer of our own story, the artist of our art, the creator of the life we experience. It is when we meet them in their imagination that we are also reminded of our own Imagination and empowered to use it to live life by creating it with intention while igniting imagination.
I’d love to hear ideas from you. What are your favorite imagination igniting activities?