Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Nurturing Your Child’s Greatest Asset

Do you remember when we were young, the sky wasn't the limit? I would like to share a quotation by George Bernard Shaw (Irish literary Critic, Playwright and Essayist. 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, 1856-1950), "You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'" Our imagination is only hampered by the limitations we created in our minds. If we put our imaginations to good use, our possibilities are limitless!

Imagination is one of the greatest traits human beings possess. From creative minds come works of art and advances in technology and science. In fact, imagination touches every aspect of our lives whether we realize it or not. But much like other characteristics of the human mind, imagination must be nurtured and practiced before its full potential can be reached.

Nurturing imagination takes place early in one's life, especially in children around the age of four or five. Can you think back to your own childhood and remember playing “cops and robbers” or “house?” When you took part in these pretend games and reenactments, you were allowing your mind’s creativity to expand and flourish.

Pretend play in children is a beneficial way to help a child learn to expand their understanding of who they are and what they like. It also helps them better grasp the knowledge of the world around them. Pretend play even helps children with communication skills, either with adults or with their own peers.

Pretend play’s earlier stages occur in the infant and toddler years. Babies are learning how to develop motor skills and react to bodily sensations. Toddlers are beginning to comprehend objects and what their functions are in the world. As time progresses a child is able to build on these learning experiences and expand their play. They do this by incorporating the personal and symbolic experiences they have seen in their short lifetime into a pretend scenario.

When children take part in pretend play, they tend to recreate family-related themes. If a child is playing with peers, roles are usually assigned and conflicts may be created and resolved by the participants. Pretend play can also be a solitary experience for the child. Instead of role playing, the child uses miniature cars, people and houses to recreate situations of all kinds.

Whether a child is playing with peers or alone, the scenarios recreated often represent a child’s interpretation of the world around them. Seeing conflicts among adults or other peers can be incorporated into pretend play. A child may try to resolve the conflict and produce his or her own desired outcome.

Adults play an active role in a child’s pretend play. Being around to supervise younger children is a good idea to make sure play time is always safe. Sometimes conflicts can arise among children, and adults need to intervene and keep things under control. Adults can also provide materials children can use for pretend play, making sure they are safe and age-appropriate.

By engaging in a child’s pretend play, adults help convey to kids how important playtime is and encourage imagination. Adults can help give children ideas on how to expand on their pretend play and let them explore all sorts of fun and creative possibilities. And because play can encourage communication, adults learn a great deal about a child just by watching or interacting in their pretend play.

Pretend play is important for a child’s development, and there are countless tools and toys to help children explore their own creativity. Encourage your child to take part in pretend play and watch imaginations take flight.

About the Author, Veronica Scott: Learn more about the fascinating world of miniatures. Visit today for a great selection of wooden doll houses and dollhouse accessories from top miniature companies.

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