Children - Learning life through imagination
Author: Caroline Brandelius Date Posted:19 April 2020
Anyone who has been hanging out with children knows how colourful their world is. How quick a car can transform into a train, a food plate into a spaceship or a toothbrush to a unicorn and suddenly a tiger is in the room chasing you. Children’s imagination have no limits and what looks like fun play is learning, to understand themselves and the world around them.
Nora Tokunaga lives in Byron Bay and has worked as an early childhood teacher since 2006. She knows how important imaginative play is for children’s development:
“Through play children practice important personal and interpersonal skills. When engaging in imaginary play children are able to take on personas and characters with a higher skill level or responsibilities than what the children would experience in their daily lives. Imaginative play is learning life” says Nora.
Imaginative play comes natural to children, but unfortunately today a lot of their play is structured or controlled by adults or they constraints put on them that interrupt their own capacity to use their fantasy and imagination. Giving children too much screen time is one way to stifle their imaginative play. The use of battery toys that have one use, is also another one.
“Opportunities for imagination and creativity are immediately diminished with talking, moving, music playing or light up toys. Children can get used to being entertained by their toys instead of using toys to entertain themselves” says Nora.
Children will always use their imagination and they don’t really need help to do so, but there are ways to encourage and foster their imagination. If you are a parent and would like to create a more creative environment for your child or children, here is a tip from Nora.
“I’d recommend parents to look at their children’s toy box and consider beauty, different textures, materials, softer colours and natural materials when purchasing toys. Remove any toys with batteries, if the toy does the work the child will not” says Nora.
One toy that incorporates many of these elements is the “rat in cheese box”, it is made by Maileg, a Danish brand making sustainable imaginative toys for children. Their purpose is to make toys that can be handed down for generations. They are made to inspire kids for their playtime stories and encourage the simple ways of playing, where a matchbox or a suitcase can be a bed for soft toy. Children tell stories through play and to choose toys with many purposes rather than just one can really help them telling their stories.
“Talk to your child about anything around the toys, from when they are young babies to build a strong family culture of oral storytelling. Because imaginary play is children telling stories through their play” says Nora.
Playtime is learning and less is more. When you choose the simple, multipurpose toys that can last a lifetime both the planet and children will have a happy playground to thrive. Nora also emphasises how good our natural environments are for children.