Imagination begins around 12 months old and expands during all childhood. It is an innate capacity since children use all new experiences to better understand the world surrounding them. Their imagination can often surprise us since they are fully able to use abstraction and decomparmentalise different aspects of their life.
What is imagination? How does it help children?
How can imagination support children’s development?
Imagination can be defined as the ability to form mental images, transform and distort them. If imagination grows with age, it requires a specific environment to develop properly. Play is essential to the growth of imaginative skills: it helps design stories, express fears and connect with other children to expand imaginary possibilities.
In this article you will find explanations of the process of imagination growth and ideas on how you can stimulate your children’s imagination through play.
Creation of mental images
First element of imagination appear around 18 to 24 months old, when children create their time-space markers. In addition with a growing memory skill, children start to build a mental image: this is the first step to imagination.
This step allows young children to fill the gaps when they don’t know the answer.
Imitation – 2 to 5 years old
Around 3 years old, children develop their own imaginary world through imitation of the surrounding world. Stories are built around daily life and mysteries: animal noises, family habbits, books they read…
Imitation is a way to better understand their reality and get a feeling of mastery. Imagination is an important way for children to gain self-confidence and to develop as a person. Play is the more effective way of doing it.
We designed our Fabulabox toys to mix a realistic architectural basis with many fun graphic details that brings freedom in the stories they build. The mix allows children to connect with their daily life and imagination at the same time, to free all imagination and expression possibilities.
Abstraction – around 6 years old
With primary school, children reinforce their social links with other children. They start to play in a group, which increase their imagination possibilities.
Their curiosity and will to learn new thinds, help them move beyond imitation.
They can bypass reality to create with audacity. This is the most abstract step of their imagination development, and it requires us to let them explore it in a full freedom of creation.
This is why we designed our construction system on a high sense of creativity freedom. Each element is modular with no official model. Frontages are both unique and compatible with each other, so that children have multiple assembly possibilities to free their imagination.
Play to reinforce imagination
Skill and creativity development require that we, adults, don’t interfere in their free play. Rules or “consistency” can reduce their will to create.
Construction game which combine imagination and time-space markers are a very good development tool..
Creating stories is a key step in imagination development. Whether you read them stories, tell them your memories and let them create their own stories with their toys, all those daily actions develop imagination skills.
Toys brands often make sure their toys are only compatible with each other, so that you buy one system only. But we beleive this choice limits children imagination. Thus, we decided to design a system that is compatible with all brands of figurines, small cars or poneys… Once our scenery is assembled, children can easily include all their toys and invent a fully creative story.
Those stories help chilren develop autonomous thinking, solve problems and build their self-esteem, all which are key assets for their future.
Being accessible for small groups of children, our Fabulabox toys allow them to share their experience and stories, whether it is with their friends, siblings. Those are fabulous expression opportunities for them.
We also designed the graphic elements on the frontages to help them express their emotions, perceptions and fears. And those are also important elements of imagination.
You are Fabulous
Imagination is a key capacity that expands during all childhood and which benefits many aspects of children development: tame the surrounding world, master their fears by expressing them in an abstract way and explore their creativity and lay the foundations for social skills. All imagination needs to grow is a free framework. Don't hesitate to leave children unsupervized or only with a sympathetic understanding to help them be more autonomous, grow self-esteem and express all their fabulous imagination power.