As the love of the Holidays are in the air, it is the ideal time of the year to reflect on the non-tangibles of the season. Children naturally embrace the magical sensation of the Season, as they observe their day to day environment transform to a decorative wonderland. Imaginations soar and creativity blossoms with each unique and marvelous snowflake falling out of the sky. It is an opportunistic time to encourage creative and imaginative play, as vital components to healthy child development.
Research indicates that imaginary and creative games contribute to the many healthy skills, such as:
- Cognitive flexibility
- Social skills
- Common courtesy
- Creative problem-solving
- Critical thinking
Root-Bernstein’s, Sparks Of Genius, The Thirteen Thinking Tools Of The World’s Most Creative People recognize the following “thinking tools” amongst others, as essential to learning:
- Body thinking
Supporting critical play skills strengthens positive youth development into adulthood. Studies indicate many correlations between childhood play and lifelong leadership skills in personal and business success. It is a biological need for children to engage in open ended play, where he or she can creatively flow through play using the same material for endless various purposes and games. This is why for centuries children find the box just as interesting, if not more interesting than the toy that came in the box. The box does not come with preset limitations. While children play with boxes, multiple developmental domains are expanding simultaneously, such as cognitive, social, emotional and language.
This Holiday Season make it a priority to give the gift of creative learning. Take the important time to sit on the floor with crayons, markers and stickers as you follow your child’s lead in his or her architectural design of many boxes. Enjoy the process as the box transforms into a spaceship, car or dinosaur. Simply observe and permit the choices, without judgment, interruption or direction. Enjoy the wonder and magic of your child’s imagination and encourage the free flow of ideas, whether logical or not. Know that you are giving the gift of quality loving time, engaged in the biological need and development of skills learned in open ended play. The greatest gifts are the intangibles, such as expanding your child’s mental health toolbox for lifelong leadership and inner peace and contentment.