The importance of Imagination

I recently have seen some behavior changes in my little ones. They were gifted some tablet computers to assist in managing the few upcoming long road trips we had planned, and it reminded me of how important our own imagination is.

An article I read recently spoke to this rather well, so I wanted to link you to it for your own review.

This article highlights the importance of traditional play and reading in the development of young children, especially in an era dominated by screens and electronic devices. The Pew Research Center’s findings indicate that a significant number of children spend excessive time on smartphones and video games, with a large percentage starting to engage with smartphones before the age of five.

Child development experts emphasize the value of hands-on childhood play and reading for children’s cognitive and social development. Dr. Errol Baptist, a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, encourages parents to prioritize reading and acquiring knowledge over excessive screen time. Traditional play with toys allows children to think critically, develop problem-solving skills, and use their imagination. Baptist believes that children who engage in reading from an early age develop a lifelong love for learning.

Elaine Sharpe, an Associate Professor of Psychology, adds that traditional play helps foster creativity and enables children to integrate their experiences into imaginative play. Interactive make-believe play with peers and family members enhances social skills, empathy, and the ability to read facial expressions.

Severely limiting screen time for young children is recommended due to its potential negative impact on brain development. Screens present a two-dimensional world that can confuse young children’s reasoning, while traditional play engages their tactile, hands-on learning style. Increased screen time has been linked to sleep issues, behavior problems, obesity, and difficulties with attention and processing information.

The Rockford Public Schools (RPS) 205’s early childhood curriculum is built on a play-based approach. Teachers like Vicki Sherman facilitate hands-on interaction through various play-based centers, allowing children to choose activities such as dramatic play, block building, science, reading, and art. Sherman has observed changes in student behavior over the years, with increased electronic device usage leading to shorter attention spans and difficulties with fine motor skills.

Overall, the article advocates for parents and educators to prioritize traditional play and reading, as they provide essential foundations for children’s development, creativity, problem-solving skills, and social interactions.

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