Definition of Imagination:
the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.
Imagination allows us to explore our dreams and wishes. However, it is also a useful tool in our everyday lives. It helps us solve problems and activates the part of the brain responsible for critical thinking.
It is vital that we continue to cultivate our imagination throughout our lives.
Studies have shown that children who are more imaginative have a better memory, sleep soundly and are more focused.
How do we cultivate our imagination? It looks different at each age.
In childhood, it starts with imaginative play. Imaginative play is unstructured play that has no rules or goals. It might look like a cardboard box turned into a rocket ship, or the classic pretend tea party. Imaginative play does not involve electronics such as watching tv, or playing video games. Even the most creative video game doesn't stimulate a child's imagination in the same way.
In adulthood, imagination can be found in imagining our future, daydreaming or purposefully using visualizations.
Here are a couple of activities for adults (and children) to help you start engaging your imagination:
1. Visualize a beautiful scene (example: a beach). Allow your mind to fully place yourself there. Use your 5 senses to enhance the visualization. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you feel? If it's too difficult to visualize it, draw it out!
2. Pick a random household object. Create a list of all the ways that the household object could you be used for that you never thought of before. For example: tissue box can be decorated and used for a container to keep all that loose change. Invite your children to think of ideas with you!
Imagination helps us think in different ways. It opens up all of the possibilities the world has to offer!