5 Ways to Stimulate Your Toddler’s Imagination

Imagination is a vital quality to develop in a child. It can help, like nothing else will, in making the most of her potential. Activities to stimulate a toddler’s imagination are bonding, memory-making, and just plain fun for parent and child!

Read to your child…then act it out!
Sharing stories with your child is valuable in so many ways! It’s a beginning step toward later independent reading, but it’s also a way to share your values. When you’re finished reading, or even later that day, dramatize the story with your toddler. You can use dolls, stuffed animals, Duplo people, or just yourselves as the story’s characters.

Take field trips and explore natural areas.
New experiences build creativity by stimulating a child’s mind. These can be as elaborate as a visit to the zoo or a museum, or as simple as a walk in a creek on a hot day. Don’t discount taking your little one to places you think are “too old for him”, either, such as a free symphony concert or an art museum. Just be prepared to leave if it becomes necessary.


Be willing to be flexible and encourage your child’s interests.
Creative pursuits don’t always start and end on schedule, and sometimes another path develops in the midst of an activity. Be prepared to allow time to finish, or to put a project away safely to finish later, say teachers at Austin Children’s Academy, a Montessori school in Austin, Texas. This shows respect for the child’s creativity! A child’s current passionate interest may be the focus of all his creative efforts for awhile, till he moves on to something else. This is normal! For more on flexibility, see “Does Flexibility in Education Help Children Learn More?”.

Set aside time for crafts.
Collect craft materials. These can come from the dollar store, craft shops, recycled materials, or the natural world. Craft ideas abound online or in books from your local library. Try http://www.pinterest.com/thinkliz/toddler-crafts/ for a wealth of ideas! While you’re at the dollar store, pick up a couple of plastic tablecloths, one for the work table and one for the floor, to help with cleanup. Encourage your child to help, too!

Limit electronic media.
Even pediatricians are now saying that screen time for young children should be rare. Watching doesn’t stimulate the brain to create. Real-life activity does that! If you have a backyard, provide a place for digging in dirt. Encourage your little one to help you with daily activities. Inside, as mentioned above, make a space that’s activity-rich. Activity materials on open shelves, in labeled bins if necessary, help your little one can find them and put the away easily.

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