The mind of the child does not limit itself to the objects they can see and their qualities, but goes beyond this, showing imagination. Children for whom a table in play becomes a house, a chair serves as a horse, who can visualize a fairy and fairyland, have no difficulty in visualizing America or the world, especially with a globe to help.
-- Dr. Maria Montessori
This quote was in my inbox today, and I just love it. It actually reminds me of a Dharma and Greg episode I watched a while ago, and the story really stuck with me. For those of you who haven't watched the series, Dharma's parents were "hippies" and she had a very non-traditional childhood. In this episode, Dharma is remembering one of her very favorite toys from her youth, a very special boat that was shaped like a shoe. It had been designed so the lace holes were actually the portholes. She had spent hours playing with her unique, one-of-a-kind shoe boat. One day she is going through a box of old items and finds her beloved boat. At first she is disheartened to see that it in fact, was, just an old shoe. I love this because it demonstrates how a simple object can be transformed into something captivating and magical through a child's imagination, no batteries required. Just as a refrigerator box becomes a playhouse, a blanket a secret hideout, and a box of crayons, well, anything you want them to be! If children are given single-purpose toys that require no imagination (just button-pressing), the imagination will not be exercised. As with most good things in the world, if the imagination is not nurtured, it will become dusty and passive and begin to wilt. This summer, add in activites and objects that will encourage your child to use their imaginations and I bet you have almost as much fun as they do!
The photos above are from an Over the Rainbow Tie Dye Extra Large Canopy Playsilk from DesertDyeworks. As per their description, "Your child can become whatever they imagine using a playsilk. The silk will transform your child into a butterfly, a wizard, a princess, or anything they dream. There is no limit to a child's imagination! This is a hand-dyed playsilk. The silk is a extra large 45"x108" 5mm habatoi(china silk) square. It is the perfect size to drape over a playstand or build a fort. It is dyed using high quality Procion dyes that will last a lifetime."