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.