We have a lot of parcels arrive at our house, I guess I like ordering online and so do my older kids. The other day I had a gorgeous framed photo that I will be reviewing soon. It was 80 cm wide so it came in a huge flat box. As soon as I opened it I resisted the urge to put the box in the recycling because it just looked like it needed to be made into something else. So I stored it away until Saturday when I could bring it out and ask my children what they thought we should do with it. Boo snapped it up straight away and said that she had an idea.
Imagination At Work.
Boo put the box flat on the floor and fetched her pencils and pens. I thought she was going to create a big piece of art but no, instead she created a whole new world for her Littlest Pet Shop figures.
In this photo it’s still very much a work in progress. She fetched twigs from the garden and little pebbles to make trees and rocky areas, and she used a plastic dish to make a pool. Star came and helped for a while and between them they had at least an hour of fun. Boo, however, continued to play for at least another couple of hours. She put it away carefully, then on Sunday morning it all came out again. She has had so much fun with this piece of cardboard and her imagination.
I remember when I was a child I would play with anything to hand. Often my mum would have a glass jar full of loose change, a ‘jar of coppers’ as she called it. I would tip out all the coins onto the floor and play with them for hours. First I would count everything and put them into neat piles. Then my imagination would kick in and each coin was given a personality or rank and they would be lined up or put into groups or families. A (rare) silver coin would become royalty and the smaller coins would become children. Those ‘coppers’ would become my toys in my imagination.
Does Technology Hinder Imagination?
I worry sometimes that today’s children have their imagination dampened by the use of video games and screens. I do try to limit screen time but it’s hard. In particular for The Little Man who seems the worst afflicted. He complains bitterly about being bored if he’s not playing one of his games or watching You Tube videos. The girls will watch You Tube and learn how to make stuff, whether it’s slime or accessories for their Littlest Pet Shop figures. The Little Man however, watches You Tube because it makes him laugh, and some of the stuff he watches his just plain stupid!
So, does the age of technology mean my children are losing their imaginations? The girls show obvious signs that their imaginations are still strong with their games, but they don’t like to include The Little Man, he doesn’t do as he’s told and ‘messes things up!”
He doesn’t lack imagination though. Today I watched him build his own game on Roblox and I was amazed at how good he was at designing it and figuring it all out. I don’t think I have those skills. He showed imagination too, it was all his own design. Yes, he gets inspired from his games and You Tube, but he still uses his own imagination.
Yesterday he got a ban from using the laptop. It’s always a fretful time when we do this because he’s going to need a lot of attention when he’s not glued to the screen. Even when he has his breaks he does nothing but complain. He can say “I’m bored” fifty times a minute I’m sure. But a whole day ban made him think more and although his idea of playing is different from his sisters, he still knows how to occupy himself and it was lovely to watch his imagination in full swing as he worked out how to attach two of his sisters toy houses together and get them to move along like some kind of double caravan. (oh yes, an insight of a mind of a seven year old boy!)
He loves his art and craft too, but unlike the girls who will just get on with it, he needs direction and a project to complete. Give him the stuff and tell him what you want him to do and he’ll do it, it’s only then that his imagination sets in and he starts doing it his own way.
Someone said to me on Instagram,
“Children are the true creators of worlds they want to enjoy until us adults mess it for them!”
How true, Children do live in their own worlds, full of imagination and the things they enjoy. Then Adults come along and want them to behave like them, taking away all that awe and inspiration to fit in and comply with society.
“We think we understand the rules when we become adults, but what we really experience is a narrowing of imagination. ” – David Lynch
If I had one wish, it would be for my children to keep their imaginations intact and continue to enjoy spaces of their own making, being creative and just enjoying themselves.
Great piece thanks for sharing. My eldest is obsessed with making robots out of cardboard and paper, except he doesn’t decorate them so our house is full of old boxes that just look like rubbish but he loves his robots and woe be to the person that bins them. It’s good to try and protect our kids imaginations.
yes, cardboard boxes are precious, the ones the kids have finished with end up being used by the cats 🙂
Oh this is so true! Children’s imagination is really something! In fact, I was quite irked at a comment Zack’s art teacher made on his report card… that he shouldn’t rush to “avoid making mistakes”. Ohhh I got quite rankled by that – there are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents, as Bob Ross said! It stifles imagination saying things like that… I only wish their teacher was available at parent’s evening tonight for me to discuss it, however it seems they don’t have anyone available on the night. :O
Oh that is sad, of course I agree with your happy accidents remark. I hope you manage to express your feelings to the teacher soon.
My son struggles with creativity if it involves paper, pencils etc but is wonderful with lego and online creations. My girls are much more traditionally creative and will happily sit in a cardboard box for an afternoon. I think taking technology away for an hour or two can do wonders towards getting them to explore their creative side #mmbc
Oh I love this. Years ago, we were trying to introduce my blind son to some tactile food (spaghetti, jelly and marshmallows – all in separate bowls) and he was having none of it. then his twin sister arrived, mixed them all up and threw them in the air shouting “sketti mess”. This landed on his head and dripped down his face and onto his chest, we waited for the screams but we were presented with the biggest belly laugh we’d heard from him. He loved it. If we had not had a child to use their imagination, we would probably still be sat there trying to encourage him to touch things but she managed to achieve this in one easy messy step. #TheMMLinky
Love this x
What a great closing line! Imagine our world if we help on to our fearless curiosity and creativity? I reckon it would be a whole lot different, in all good ways! Lovely post! #mondaystumble
I often think that kids just don’t know how to play any more thanks to the prolific use of tablets, computers and consoles. I hear ‘I’m bored… what can I dooooo?’ several times a day at weekends from my son and he genuinely doesn’t seem to know how to use his imagination. I blame myself for this, as I am usually sat with my laptop too, when really I should be teaching him how to spark his creativity! #TheMMLinky
Awww, yes, wouldn’t it be great if they could keep those imaginations for ever?! Maybe we do, we just forget how to let go and use them… #TheMMLinky
I agree that it’s hard to limit screen time and keep them occupied 24/7. Without imagination I assume a lot of things wouldn’t have otherwise been invented so I’m all for it. #BlogCrush
My eldest (7) complains a lot about being “bored” too. She used to be great with her imagination but now only wants to be entertained by the TV. I know she is finding school hardwork at the moment so she just wants to crash in front of the TV when she gets home. I’m hoping it’s just a phase…
But her little sister (3), will literally entertain herself for hours! She loves making up stories with little figurines. And if she doesn’t have any figures to hand, she’ll find random household objects to be the characters in her stories. It’s fascinating to watch. I hope she never loses this ability.
P.S. I think your daughter’s “little world” looks fab! #blogcrush