Do you ever see two words on a page and think “Wait…huh? Aren’t those the same thing”? I remember the first time I saw an article about accessibility and inclusivity. I had a moment of confusion and immediately asked “Hey Google…what’s the difference between accessible and inclusive”. Turns out there are plenty of differences. Lots of words have seemingly similar definitions that seem interchangeable but technically aren’t. You may think you want your child to hear your advice, but in fact you’d probably prefer they listen to your advice.
Imagination and creativity work with each other but are another example of terms that can take us down two different paths if they aren’t paired together. Imagination is thinking of something that is not present, while creativity is doing something meaningful with your imagination. Imagination is the ability to create new images in your mind – like the first person to visualize what a dragon looks like. Creativity is turning that dragon into a popular TV show or children’s book.
Imagination requires no physical efforts, just thoughts. Creativity requires an action; you must do something outwardly to show creativity. Singing, writing, drawing, acting…those actions may all be influenced by your imagination. Without creativity, imagination can remain silent, with no output of ideas or concepts. Smash the two concepts together and something meaningful is bound to come of it. Imagination mixed with creativity is how new technologies or products are born. The concept of virtual-reality games exists because someone imagined it. One of the first concept of VR came in the 1950s, in the movie industry, where they wanted to see how people would feel if they felt like they were “in” the movie. So they simulated a real-life environments where you “rode” through city streets on a motorcycle. You could hear engines revving, feel vibrations and smell the exhaust in this designed experiment.
A child’s imagination and creativity know no limits. This is exactly why they can come up with the most outrageous stories, silliest games, and wildest ideas. One minute you’re listening to their tales about a gigantic, purple, duck running loose in the streets and the next you’re off playing a game about spaceships and 7-legged sea creatures. It often makes no sense but it’s certainly fun!
Finding creative ways to engage a child’s imagination is an important part of development. When children are provided with imaginative and creative play experiences, they can expand on the inspiration to propel them into fresh ways to learn and play. By adding in opportunities for play in creative ways allows kids to be inspired from things around them and then use them for inspiration to create new things. This could be as simple as placing a box of random ideas beside them while they play quietly at home. It could also be taking them a wild, adventure playground to explore new activities.
Regardless of how it comes to be, encouraging a child’s imagination and creativity is essential. Problem solving, motivation, confidence and productivity are all influenced by your ability to be imaginative and creative. The bonus of raising imaginative and creative children is that they will be the next generation of advancement and growth in a fast-moving tech world. Imagination and creativity are bridges to innovative solutions and breakthrough ideas for future generations to come. Maybe they imagine something beyond the scope of our wildest dreams. Is your child struggling to find a solution to a problem? Take them to a playground and let them run wild for an hour to see if that helps. The fresh air, exercise, and fun all help boost our creativity. We used to think of imagination as just daydreaming or fantasizing, but in fact, imagination is more in-depth than that. When we picture how our day will go, or when we recall a memory, when we think of a story to tell our nieces and nephews or when we visualize our goal is all imagination at play.