“Imagination is the source of all human achievement”
Why is it important to encourage imagination?
The first few years of your child's life are extremely important. All the things you and your toddler do together, from reading, singing, and playing to eating and walking, help to jump-start his brain.
Involving your toddler in stimulating activities helps to create connections in his brain. Through repetition, these connections build into networks in his brain that allow him to think and learn.
This is an important time in your toddler's mental development because his brain is much denser than it will be when he's older. A connection that's used repeatedly becomes permanent, while connections that are hardly used may not survive.
As you expose your toddler to new experiences, you open his mind to a bigger, more exciting world. By encouraging him to use his imagination ("Look, Mummy's a tiger in the jungle!"), you spark his brain to forge "imagination pathways" of its own.
How can I help my toddler develop his imagination?
You can help to spark your toddler's fantasy life by reading picture books about unfamiliar people and places together. While your toddler's naturally imaginative, these will help to broaden his vocabulary of words and images, too. (How can you imagine being a turtle if you've never seen one?)
Choose books with lots of big, colorful pictures. You can make up anything you want before your toddler learns to read and insists on sticking strictly to the text.
What his brain wants now is input. Show your toddler pictures of everything from beetles to dinosaurs.
Make sounds for animals and vehicles, too. Use special voices for the different characters and talk about what happened or might happen to the characters. Try to limit TV and DVDs, which create ready-made imaginary worlds for him. Instead, allow your toddler's mind more scope to create pictures on its own
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