Nov 25, 2020

The Importance of Imagination in Early Years

When you’re growing up, you might want to be a prince/princess, a fireman/woman, a knight, a police lady or man or even an ice cream person. Our imaginations help us become curious about our surroundings, events and people. We start to use our senses to explore the environment around us, we start taking risks with our experiences and learn from our own trial and error. This all stems from our imagination and other influences around us, expanding on how we think and create our own ideas.

Imagination starts at a very young age, children develop this as they grow and it grows with them. It helps to strengthen their minds and knowledge, helping us to understand how the world works. We should take every opportunity we can to support and encourage this.

Just think when your child is playing and you hear them talking, singing, or even collecting odd items from around the house or outside area. Watch and observe them as their little minds begin to run with their imaginative thoughts. Question your actions before you engage with them, don’t stop them but inspire their imagination and play along with them.

Something as simple as a card board box; when we look at this it’s just a simple cardboard box, but when looking at this though a child’s mind, it’s so much more. It could be a house, a boat, a space rocket going into outer space or an aeroplane taking us to the sea side, the possibilities are endless for them. We should take these opportunities to play along with the children, supporting their everyday language and communication skills, allowing them to engage in open-ended play and acting our experiences with others supporting this. This will also allow children to understand problem solving, become a critical thinker and have their own amazing ideas, allowing them to continue to thrive in everyday life.

Within the Early Years, imagination is a door to endless possibilities for your child’s development, helping them to think outside the box, making room for their knowledge to expand and grow. This is also how children being to understand how the world works and to think and create with their own ideas. Children are able to form images within their minds and they are able to begin to become themselves, and create new endless possibilities and even change the world. Our imagination helps to generate such amazing ideas, this helps children to build on their self-confidence, increase their intellectual growth and develop their language skills. As children engage in role play, it’s allowing them to be able to actively experiment with actual life roles, which they will benefit from later in life.

At nursery we have a number of resources and areas that encourage children to use their imagination but you too can support your child and their ever growing imagination at home as well. Look round and see what items you can find to support your child’s imagination; the resources you could add into a box for your child are endless. Here are some resourceful ideas:

  • Old telephones/mobiles, old keys
  • Empty bottles, brushes, sponges
  • Shower hose, bowls, cups
  • Dolls, teddies, blankets
  • Writing and drawing materials
  • Variety of blankets, boxes
  • Bags, dressing up, shoes

These are just some things you can find around your home that your child will benefit from allowing their imagination to kick start and right before your very eyes, you can watch them grow into amazing characters.

Imagination in the Early Years plays a key role and is extremely important in children’s development. Sometimes it’s a lovely thing to step back and watch your child develop through their play. We can always be surprised by their ability to initiate how they understand the world, finding solutions and learning how they become a part of our world.

Emma Cockerill-Maher, Deputy Nursery Manager at Sandhills Nursery Alvechurch

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