Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Parenting Pointers: The Ageless Possibilities of Imagination

By Judy Laufer
Walt Disney called it “Imagineering” and made imagining fun for all ages!
Young children make sense of the world through play and by using their imaginations.  They learn social and emotional skills through play and interaction with their peers and with adults.
They learn valuable lessons like taking turns and predicting outcomes.    Have you ever built a castle in the sand or maybe just a sand cake with a young child?  Great conversations can develop.  You can discuss your surroundings, like who lives in which house, or whose birthday could this be?  How many people or how many candles should there be?  What about your house or family?  How many birthdays or how old are you this year or next?
They learn vocabulary by trying out different words and different combinations of words.  They learn about humor and what’s funny by playing with words and putting different word combinations together.   For example, “smelly” and “feet” by themselves are not funny, but together it may be hilarious to a young child.   They are developing a sense of confidence by trying new things.  In play they  are not judged or criticized.
Walt Disney certainly understood the importance of imagination for young children and their belief in magic.  Fantasy and reality seemed to weave in and out of stories that children and their parents love.  He knew the importance of developing creativity in children by developing their imaginations.  His stories were engaging for both parents and their children.  He even seemed to be able to touch the child inside every adult. 
I was lucky enough to grow up with Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss as my heroes.   I was transported to wonderful lands by the magic of Disney and entertained by the zaniness of many of the Seuss characters.
As an early childhood educator I too believe in the importance of providing lots of opportunities for children to use their imaginations and their sense of silliness.   The silliness enables them to try new things, think creatively and positively about the world they live in.
Here are some suggestions to just have fun with your children,
-Ask you kids to make up silly and funny names based on everyday things like food or household items.  Banana head or apple cheeks and then make up story using these characters.  Where do they live?  Who are there friends?  Being silly can be fun and creative.
-What things can you think of that can be done backwards. Try walking backwards or sideways.
-The residents of Gigglyville, the town featured in my book series, can hop on one toe, for example.  See if they would like to try that!
-Try a “dress up day” where you find clothes that are way too big and then way too small.  How do both feel?  Which would they choose if they had to choose one?
Enjoy a happy, funny giggly day or night!
J.E LauferJ
Judy Egett Laufer BA, author of the new release, “Last Night I Had a Laughmare-Bedtime Adventures in Gigglyville” (www.laughmarebook.com), is a certified early childhood educator/consultant and has taught Kindergarten for over a decade. She wrote this book to help families bring laughter and joy to their children’s bedtime routine. Her strategy for diffusing difficult situations with children is infusing a little humor and silliness. Laufer wanted to give children and their parents a fun way to approach bedtime. Laufer attended Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She is married and she currently lives with her husband and son in the Southwest.

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