How many of you can answer the question, ‘What is fantasy?’
Although there’s no definition that truly hits the spot, the following is what the dictionary would have us believe.
‘Fantasy is the faculty of imagining impossible or improbable things.’
We have all seen children indulge in pretend or imaginary play. Do we know just how beneficial this kind of ‘fantasy’ play can be for the healthy development of our kids?
Fantasy fiction and Imaginative Play provide opportunities for your child to try on a variety of roles and experiences. Let’s take a closer look at what imaginative play is all about, before we plunge deeper into the magical waters of fantasy.
Imaginative Play: What it’s about
Better known as pretend play, imaginative play is pretending to be something or someone else.
This might be when your little one mimics their hero, real or imaginary. They might also indulge in pretend activities of deep sea-diving or playing veterinarian.
Imaginative play, then, is about children using their imaginations without any sort of expectations.
The Benefits of Imaginative Play
The importance of imaginative play is often undermined. Here are some of the top benefits of imaginative play that will show you just how critical it is to give your children the freedom to soar on the wings of their imagination.
Grasping Social Skills
Fostering social skills can be something of a task for kids. Luckily, they have a knack of forming connections easily, when they play.
The thing is, children learn to take turns and work with each other, when they play. As they engage in imaginary play, they begin to understand relationships better.
Improves their language and communications skills
Through pretend play, children can learn words that they otherwise might never have encountered.
As language becomes more familiar to them, it gives them a sense of control that helps reduce any anxiety they might have.
Imaginative play does a great job where it comes to fostering emotional competence and empathy in children.
In their make-believe play, your child might learn to care for others. An example of this is their indulging in ‘Doctor Pretend play’, where they learn to be gentle and kind to people.
Believe it or not, imaginative play aids the physical development of children, too.
Oftentimes that pretend play is physical in nature – like being in an airplane, climbing ladders as a firefighter, etc. Apart from these, their fine motor skills can be addressed even by simple things like feeding and dressing a doll.
It encourages Independence
As children connect with the world around them, they begin incorporating what they have learned into their dramatic play.
The great thing about imaginative play is that it encourages risk-taking. This ‘taking of risks’ goes a long way in helping them garner that vital sense of independence. Helping them create their own stories and make their own rules, it sets them up well for the road ahead.
The Best Fantasy Fiction Books
Reading fantasy books is a great way for children to discover imaginary worlds, fantastic creatures and even ordinary people and animals who can do extraordinary things.
Here is our list of some of the best Fantasy Fiction Books for your children to read.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A spectacular read with characters like The Mad Hatter and The Cheshire Cat, that have become key fixtures of countless childhood memories.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
A classic tale in which a group of dwarves enlist the help of Bilbo Baggins, the ‘Hobbit’, in their quest to recover treasure from Smaug, the Dragon.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
You might have wondered why a Harry Potter book didn’t come first on the list. Needless to say, this bestselling novel and its sequel require no introductions.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett
Nobody ever goes grocery shopping in the town of Chewandswallow, where all the food – from peanut butter to pizza – simply falls from the sky above.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
There is a bear that lives in the Hundred Acre Woods, called Winnie-the-Pooh. He enjoys an idyllic existence with his best friends, in what makes for a most charming and endearing tale.
Imaginative Play activities
Looking to get started with helping your child push the limits of their imagination? You can do just that, with the imaginative play activities we have curated specially for you, in the following list.
- Cook an imaginary meal. Get your little one to don the junior MasterChef hat, and lay out the cooking equipment or even ingredients that you are going to cook with.
- Nurture that artistic streak. Encourage those budding artists to get as creative as they possibly can, by having them indulge in activities like sketching, painting or simply playing with clay.
- Let them play Superhero. Have them don a cape and indulge in a fight of Good vs Evil with you, ‘The Evil Villain’!
- Outdoor Fun. Nature is a great place to foster the imagination of children. Let them draw in the sand, make forts from twigs or simply lie on the grass and look at the interesting cloud formations.
- Stage a play. You don’t need an auditorium to put on a performance! Do it right in your house itself, using simple props like puppets, dolls or even hairbrushes! This ultimate improv exercise will get their creative juices flowing, and how!
- Reading books. You’ve already seen some great books you could pick up, to stimulate your child’s imagination. The great thing about books is, when a child reads a story, the vivid images they create in their minds gives a boost to their creativity.
We at EuroKids do all we possibly can, where it comes to nurturing the creativity of your children. We believe that the biggest benefit of fantasy is that it allows readers to experiment with different ways of seeing the world. Without fantasy, children only remain shells of their potential selves.