|Above: Imaginative creation with mixed media|
|Imaginative play starts early|
1. The ability to invent or create novel or original things, or look at their world in unusual ways?
|Here a 6 yr old looks at prey from above|
2. Using real world objects and knowledge in unusual ways?
Most 'what if' questions can end up here but there are other paths. It requires children to investigate their immediate world (this requires skills), to see the unusual and observe things that others don't notice.
|Simple cubby made from a box|
- Make a cubby house from boxes, old sheets etc (see previous post on cubbies HERE).
- Create a clubhouse in the back yard with membership rules, club motto, a logo and so on.
- Create a new board game with a theme of interest. You can use many formats adapted from existing games or create a new form. It requires them to think of a theme (dragons, 'Polly Pocket', Spider Man etc), a format (e.g. series of boxes with a start and finish), rules for playing and scoring etc.
HERE), or write their own blog (see my post on children as bloggers HERE).
4. Encourage children to use extended vocabulary, complex sentence structure and varied language forms.
- This is perhaps the easiest area to enrich. Immerse your children in a rich diet of poetry, literature and drama. Share literature and talk about it, make it a key part of the home or classroom.
- Play with language, rhyme, introduce new words and technical terms never use an approximate word in the face.
- Play with words as part of life, as you play with your children, drive with them in the car, walk with them along the road.
- Play word games with them and make it fun! Dr Seuss is a great place to start with general language silliness (see my post on Dr Seuss HERE).
- Give them new words in the midst of real life experiences.
- Introduce them to literature beyond their immediate experience.
5. Introduce your children to imagery and metaphorical language.
The gifted child will begin to become aware that language has more than literal meanings. Point out some of this richness, encourage them to observe it, and eventually to use it. Point out that language is enriched by simile, metaphor, homophones, homonyms and so on. Again, this can be done in everyday life as you play, travel, share meals (see my previous posts that deal with this HERE , HERE & HERE)
6. Encourage imaginative discovery in as many varied situations as possible.
Play is one way to achieve this, sometimes with adults, sometimes alone, and also with other children (see my previous post on this HERE).
Another way is to provide rich firsthand experiences from a very young age. Many of these are very basic:
- The squelch of mud between toes on a wet day in the back yard.
- Running on a sandy beach for the first time.
- Watching a worm wiggle in the palm of a small hand.
- Going outside on a dark and cloudless night to gaze and talk about the stars (if you have an iPad, you might use Star Walk).
- Watching a bird build its nest in a tree in the playground in spring.
- Doing hand painting.
- Observing chickens as they grow bigger day by day, collecting the eggs, sweeping the cage.
Some will look at the above list and feel as if all children could benefit from them. There is truth in this, but it's a matter of degree and regularity. All children need to have their imaginations stimulated, not shut down. But the gifted child will experience painful boredom and frustration if their school experience is filled with repetitive and unchallenging work that does little to stimulate their imaginations.
You might like to consider some of the other ideas in my previous post on giftedness HERE
|Jacob (4 years) draws Grandad from the unusual vantage point of the fish inside the aquarium looking out|