Where Children Play to Learn

Stretching The Imagination

on March 1, 2018

There is a common misconception that children have a naturally vivid imagination NO MATTER WHAT they do with their time.  Well, unfortunately, that is not quite true.  Your imagination (like any other part of your body) requires stretching and practicing and challenging it to make it bigger, better, stronger and faster.  There are so many great electronic technologies out there that can help teach and improve a young mind, i.e – iPads, computers, etc.  However, many of those same technologies also lay out plans for the watcher, or provide multiple choice answers, don’t give enough freedom of choice, etc.  The beauty of the blank piece of paper and what it can become is getting lost in the shuffle.  This activity is an example of how we are trying to flex and poke and prod into the imaginative creativity of our classroom’s students.

Each Pre-K student was given a box.  A simple, brown cardboard box.  Nothing more, nothing less.  They were given very little instruction outside of the time they had to work on it (about 90 minutes over the course of 3 days) and that they would only be provided with ONE (so no take-backs or do-overs).  This caused a fair amount of confusion with a few students.  “What do you want me to do?”  “What should I do?”  “I don’t know what to do!”  Questions and statements seeking a direction or a command of some type; an escape from the responsibility of using their imagination.  With patience and understanding, we (teachers) continued to explain they could do ANYTHING!  Anything their hearts desired!  Gradually the students began to understand and then suddenly BOOM!  Creativity started flying everywhere!  We had homes that were also cars, and cars that were also robots…   dinosaurs and princess hangouts….  a table for their friends and a place to hide from their Moms & Dads…..   a barber shop, a bus, a plane, a submarine….   !!!  The ideas went back and forth, each student helping and contributing on not just their project but others.  The English language was flying around the room just as much as the yarn, markers and glitter.  Discussions involving Math, Science, social connections, etc.  At the end of the day they may have enjoyed this more than anything we’ve done so far.

So, next time you go to hand your young student an iPad or set them in front of a TV…   consider a cardboard box instead.



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