Apr 8, 2010

The Power of Imagination and Inspiring Pretend Play: "I am an Olympic Athlete!"

Picture this. I am in the kitchen preparing dinner. 4-year-old Ethan appears to be break-dancing on the floor. Hmmmm… never saw him do this before. Is it something he learned at school? The conversation goes like this… “Ethan, what are you doing? Dancing?” “No Mom, I’m speed skating.” Hmmmm. What am I missing here? Speed skating? How does he know what speed skating is? Oh yeah, the Olympics. We must have watched some speed skating events together. I remembered watching skiing events together but not the speed skating. Hmmmm… Doesn’t look like speed skating to me. Should I say something? Curiosity gets the best of me, so I ask. “Ethan, can you explain this speed skating thing you are doing?” “Mom, I’m turning a corner and my hand is touching the ice.” Ohhhhhhh….. Silly mom. I get it. Pretty funny actually. Really creative in fact. WOW. I get it now. Actually does look like speed skating now that I have the context. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get my camera out fast enough!) However, lots more Olympic pretend play to come.

WOW. The power of imagination and pretend play. I just love to see Ethan’s imagination at play. Whatever he is interested in at the moment comes into his pretend play. He loved watching the Olympics. And speed skating in the kitchen was only the beginning…

More Speed Skating:

Note: Pretend speed skating has become the way that we race to my office/warehouse! First with one arm behind the back…then full out speed skate sprinting with both arms pumping and legs going side to side. Too funny!

The Luge (using a little footstool!):

The Bobsled:

The Skeleton (see the Olympics on TV in the background?):

The bottom line: imagination is a powerful thing. Imagination is key to play and learning. It’s not the toy…it’s the play… kids can imagine and play without anything else in hand. And simple props can be great for extending that imaginative play ---- Poof! a fairy wand and they’re a fairy… Whooo whooo!!! A train whistle and they’re a conductor… A magnifying glass and they're a pirate or an explorer. Simple toys for great imaginative pretend play!


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