Last Friday, I went down to London to attend Maynards Discovery Patch event in London Zoo to learn about developing children’s imagination and met child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer and the team of Imagination Ambassadors.
Thanks to Dr Gummer for sharing her top tips to promote an active imagination:
- Not always giving children the answers to everything they ask, instead, it is beneficial for children to try and think about their own answers, so parents should feel free to enable this to happen.
- Spark a child’s imagination with joint story time – the parent can start a story then it’s up to the child to continue it.
- Using imaginative language. Phrases such as ‘I wonder what’ or ‘imagine if’ can help children think more imaginatively and incorporate hypothetical or fantasy ideas into their everyday lives, helping them to imagine what it might feel like to be in a certain situation and empathise.
This is her top 5 Imagination Tools:
- Augmented reality and interactive apps provide an exciting avenue for new depths of discovery during family playtime. They can excite a child’s imagination and help them to interact with ideas that they simply would not have thought about.
- The use of imagery or photos can help children to understand events that they have never experienced – e.g. imagining travelling to the moon via a photograph of an astronaut.
- Pretend play can help children gain perspective- giving them an understanding of how to react.
- Model play – parents can demonstrate what to do in a certain situation as this promotes creativity – acting out situations or scenarios can help them gain a clear understanding of how this might apply in real life.
- Establishing a secure and safe environment where the child can freely express themselves, sharing made up songs or performing poems will enable them to learn through self-discovery, safe in the knowledge that their parents are interested and supportive.
The Maynards Discovery Patch research reinforces parents’ belief that their role undoubtedly plays a vital part in their families lives. Their role as a facilitator allows them to provide their children with confidence and equip them with the ability to use their imagination, deal with unexpected events, discover new information and generate new ideas.
As for story-telling, remember these four points. In a story, there is always a hero/good guy and there will be always a monster/bad guy. Then set yourself a place and time. Use a story stick to pass the baton on the person who is telling the story.
We were also shown their new app called Maynards Discovery Patch. I had a bit of trouble downloading it as it won’t search in my App store. It took a long time to search and took several times going in and out of the App store.
- Open then click ‘Discover’.
- Grab a pack of Maynards Discovery Patch Animals, Body Bits and Myths & Monsters by scanning the front of pack to enter a world of augmented reality.
- Each variant unlocks two shapes to explore and discover.
- Select a silhouette and begin discovering within the environment around you.
- The shape is split into five pieces with hints to their locations are in the bottom right of the screen.
- When you find a piece, click on it to learn a fun fact. If you don’t know it, shake your phone to continue. If you think you know it, press ‘I know it’.
- Guess what you think it is based on the facts given. If you’re wrong, try again. If you’re correct, you get to review all the full fun facts in one place.
- There will also be an animation, with sounds, of the full shape so you can see what you have been exploring and discovering.
- The app also allows the user to explore nutritional information and learn about the other variants available to buy
Overall this was a great event and I hope you found Dr Gummer’s tips useful to get you to develop your children’s imagination.
Disclosure: I have received a goody bag and am not paid to write this article.