Do you remember you using your imagination as a kid? Creating your own magical world that only you and whoever joins you experience is beyond fun but also great for our brains. Since I was a child, I always had a big imagination and used to pretend to be a fairy, a mermaid, a college student, an actress, animals, etc. You named it, I was it. I could spend hours playing barbies and creating conversations with small figures. Here’s a little secret, I used to even talk with my fingers. I know, sounds weird right? Well, it was a way for me to leave the real world and create my own or work through what was happening in reality through play. Whoa. That is why play is therapeutic!
Anywho, I like to share how I was imaginative and then decided to continue to be imaginative with children and help them create and pretend! There are studies that show how using our imaginations/imaginative play develops problem solving and critical thinking.
While outside in the play yard at my school, I decided to share a new game with the children ages 2-4 year olds. I learned this game at a workshop about drama therapy at the expressive art summit where we pretend to pull out different objects out of a bag or suitcase and then pass it around the room and relate to it in our own way. I loved this exercise which is considered improvisation. So, I decided to play it with my kids and barely explained it but instead showed it. I said here is my magical suitcase and I’m going to open it and see what is inside. And I slowly and quietly discovered a small slithery snake. I passed it around the circle and the kids pretended too and created a story around it. They said:
“Oh look he ran away into the trees!”
“I’ll get him!”
“Ah he ran away again!”
It is interesting to use drama with children and see how some kids are better than others at using their imaginations and saying, “Yes and” without being taught that.
Overall, it is a fun game and teaches me more about the children I work with and supports them in becoming sillier, storytellers, better problem solvers, creators, and critical thinkers. I am grateful to be able to work with children and play with them while knowing that when we play, we are learning together.
Love and light,
Rachael Anne Singer