It’s starting to get warmer finally! Despite the crazy weather, we are getting full days of warm sunshine.
The beach is one of my favourite places to be by myself and with my family. It doesn't have to be a warm summers day to enjoy the beach. After a storm the beach is covered with all sorts of amazing materials!
Shells, seaweed, rocks, sticks and the list goes on. In my first book ‘The Beach’ instead of a sandcastle, Max builds a great sand dragon breathing fire made from seaweed!
Max climbs onto the dragons back and imagines the dragon coming to life! They jump high into the air and meet all sorts of friends out at sea.
It does take time for some kids to get used to the beach. My son at first was afraid of the waves. We started slow, a bucket and spade can go along way to start with.
And if you are not near a beach, you can build one at home too.
Grab any large container. Add dirt, rocks, twigs and leaves and then you have a contained imagination station ready to go!
Please share any pics of you and your family enjoying the beach too, you can visit me also at our Max facebook Page.
Use Household Items to encourage creative play and imagination
You don't have to spend loads of money to get the latest and greatest gadget for your kids. It’s great to have a few things around the house that you can pull out on a rainy day.
Here are a few we have tested at home to great success!
Pots/Pans and containers: They make noise and you can put things in them, what more do you need! Our favourite was the sieve, its great with chopsticks and pipe cleaners.
Dried Pasta: My son loves to help in the kitchen. He is quite content to be have some containers with dried pasta. He has a great time tipping them in and out while I cook dinner. (Supervision recommended so they don't swallow anything)
Role play and dress up: You can use anything at all my son loves our clothes to get dressed in as they are bigger and easy to put on! and also you can pick up some cheap items from the 1-2-3 dollar shops too, add in some string for extra fun and coordination learning.
The Couch: The favourite hide and seek spot! (and behind the curtains) And if you have a sheet or blanket you can make a tent.
The cardboard box: One of our favourites! It can be anything you want the sky is the limit. I have dedicated my latest book The Racecar to this amazing imagination fuelled box! Check it out here.
My son just turned two. Two! I can’t believe it! Where has the time gone? Lately, I have found myself just thinking about everything he has done and learned over the last two years…and it seems SO much. He learnt to sit, stand, walk, run, jump, drink, and eat, and now he can talk and so much more!
So why with these very important life learning steps is imagination and pretend play crucial for a child’s development?
Studies now show that imagination is vital to help understand reality. It has been proven that children who pretend play can be a key role in understanding someone else’s perspective. It can also help them be strong socially and more confident with new situations and learning new things.
My son, who loves water, always wants his bath at night to the point where he will start to climb into the tub as soon as we mention the word! And I thought, “Great! He will love the beach!” Wrong. He thought the waves were scary, and yes – looking through his eyes, they are. They are fast moving and loud! My book, The Beach, shows that you can use your imagination through story to encourage beach play. The sea can be so much fun when you can imagine yourself riding on a sand dragon that you built at the beach!
“Logic will get you from A to Z, Imagination will get you everywhere!” – Albert Einstein
Imaginary friends have received a bad rep over the years. Some seem to think this is a bad sign, but it’s the opposite. It means your child is using his or her imagination to help in a time of need, in overcoming a new situation or stress, or simply exploring new ideas or taking care of another. Children are problem solving, which is such an amazing tool later in life.
My son is going through a phase where he thinks everything is real – the car, all his toys, and even the door stop duck, which we must say hello/goodbye and give cuddles to whenever we come and go from the house. Haha. It’s endearing, and, yes, it does take a long time to get ready in the morning and for bed at night when you have ten friends participating in story time, with each one needing a kiss goodnight. And, no. You can’t miss one! But I love it, and it’s great how he cares for all their needs and that they are included, even when each one must take part in making dinner. You know he is learning so much!
In my third book, The Sandpit, Max imagines dinosaurs are alive, and he helps them get out from a rock face where they have been stuck for the longest time!
So, encouraging imagination can just be small things. You don't have to teach them Santa Claus is real if you don't want to, or that there is a Tooth Fairy. But you can make it as simple as reading a storybook or asking if Teddy wants to join the family for dinner. This morning Bob the Builder in Duplo had to sit on the toilet (Ahhh! the toilet training phase!)
All I know is imagination is fun, and I’m learning a thing or two as well!
READ, PLAY, IMAGINE!
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