Encouraging Your Toddler’s Imagination

Imagination.jpgAlbert Einstein once said “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” He was right. A healthy imagination is a great thing. It sparks creativity, aids in problem solving and ideas. Many of us lose our sense of imagination as we get older, but our children are still growing & honing theirs. As parents there are many things that we can do to help our young ones develop this.

Role Playing: This is something that toddlers naturally do on their own. They love to mimic the actions of the ones around them. The first hint of this I saw with my daughter was with her pretend talking into a remote control. She would have full conversations about her day on her fake cell phone. She has since graduated to tea parties, baking Play-Doh cakes & teaching her stuff animals.


Enjoy the Abstract: Do you remember being younger and laying on the ground and finding images in the clouds? It is amazing what your child can see. I did an experiment with my daughter a while back, where I made about a dozen inkblot pictures and asked her what she saw. The results were interesting.

Read, read, read: I don’t know about you, but when I am reading a book, I always play it out in my mind. How many times have you saw a movie that was adapted from a book & the characters were not how you pictured them. Books expand your creative mind. Be theatrical when reading to your child. Invite them to be too. How fun would it be to act out “Pete’s A Pizza” with your child?

Playing dress up: Whether you have a little boy who likes to dress in a cowboy hat and vest or a little girl who likes to don a tiara and magic wand, playing dress up is a great way for your children to feed their worlds of make believe. Costumes inspire new characters to be born and formed & it is fun for mommy and daddy to play along too.

Channeling her inner Jackie O

Story telling: This is the most fun. Get your child to tell you a story. Many times my daughter will start with a one simple sentence. “I went down stairs to get a birthday cake for mama dinosaur. ” This can spark a fun story telling experience with your child. “Really, who came to the birthday party?” “What color was mama dinosaur’s cake?” My daughter has such an active imagination. She comes up with the most creative and colorful stories. I started writing them down. In fact, I took one of her stories and made it into a book. I am currently illustrating it.

Get artistic: Transferring the beautiful images in your mind on to a piece of paper is a wonderful way to open up your imagination. Mai’s drawings don’t quite look like anything yet to us, but she knows exactly what she is drawing. “Mama look! The mermaid is in the pond.” Yes it is!

Pretend: This can often go hand in hand with dress up or role playing. Our daughter likes to pretend that she is various animals. Her favorite is a kitten. She will often ask me to play along. I am usually mama kitten. Tonight, I had to be mama kangaroo & she was my Joey. We bounced around the living room with her pretending to be in my pouch.

What sort of activities do your children do to expand their imaginations? Please share any fun or interesting stories about your smart and imaginative children.

Anatomy of a Meltdown

IMG_20140223_2003156001How and why does a meltdown occur? It could be that a nap was skipped that afternoon , that they are not feeling well or maybe it took too long to serve dinner that evening. Either way, there is something that already has your little one agitated.

The Trigger: This evening we served our daughter one of her suppertime favorites, cucumbers and ranch dressing. I poured some dressing on her plate. “More dressing, Mama?” I add more dressing to her plate. Then the unthinkable & tragic happened, some of the dressing… (brace yourself friends) touched the cucumbers. OH NO! Mommy you really dropped the ball with this one.

The Gibberish: “Noooooo, da ba da dr dr dreeeeeesssssing. Cucumber on the dressing. “
Me “Do you want me to wipe the dressing off the cucumber?”
“Noooooooooooooo, ab ba da Ranch … cucumber”
Me “Do you want the dressing? What’s wrong, baby? Use your words”

The Tears: Now starts a fit of screams and tears that probably only lasted for about 5 minutes, but feels like five hours. My daughter hysterically gasps for breaths while pointing at the ranch dressing.

The Reasoning: “Mai Mai, mommy will clean the dressing off the plate.” I say to my daughter as I quickly fumble to wipe away the dressing from the cucumbers. This makes her cry even more. Come sit with mommy.” I still am not sure why she is crying.

The Calm: After a few minutes of hugging, humming and rocking, our daughter starts to calm down. Daddy burps a couple of times and it makes her laugh. Aaaaahhhh! Finally a happy baby again.

The Relapse: Daddy in a moment of pure insanity, eats a cucumber. How dare he? Doesn’t he know that we can not talk, eat or breath until the meltdown has run it’s course completely. As the storm rolls in again our daughter turns and looks at me “Dada ate the cucumber!!!” “Dada!! cucumbers, Ahhhhh, Noooo Dada.”

The Switch: After a few moments she shuts off her faucet of tears and reaches for a cucumber & dips it in the dressing. “Mmmm. so goood. More Ranch dressing?”

The Confusion: ?????? What? … Honey, can you hand me the Ranch dressing?

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