Creative Child

Imagination Games to Spark Creativity and Connection

by Winita Frederick

As adults, sometimes it's difficult to communicate on a kid's level. We can get so caught up with our responsibilities and bogged down by the stresses of parenting that trying to understand our kids becomes an afterthought. Despite these obvious barriers, it’s especially important as parents to maintain open lines of communication with our little ones. After all, we want to teach them that it's always okay to come to us when life's problems arise and that they will be loved unconditionally and without judgement.

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In her moving article, Child, Do I Have Your Heart?, Rebecca Eanes suggests entering your child’s world and staying for a little while to promote healthy bonding and communication between parents and children. If you think this sounds like a great idea, but are unsure about how to find the door to your child’s world, try our top 5 imagination games guaranteed to spark creativity in your child while building a stronger parent-to-child connection.

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Game: Fortunately, Unfortunately

The rules of Fortunately, Unfortunately are simple. Someone begins a story with a sentence. It can be in the first, second, or third person perspective; either singular or plural nouns work too. The next person continues the story with a sentence that begins with “fortunately” or “unfortunately.” The story game continues for as long as you want, with each sentence’s beginning alternating between “fortunately” and “unfortunately.”

Here's a quick example to get the ball rolling:

Mom: Jenny and Bobby built a house.

Kid: Unfortunately, they didn’t build a swing in my room.

Dad: Fortunately, Jenny and Bobby built a basketball hoop in the backyard.

Mom: Unfortunately, everyone was very bad at basketball.

Kid: Fortunately, they practiced everyday and learned how to play really well.

The end.

Suggestions: Depending on the age of the participants, you can set rules for vocabulary words or parts of speech that must be used to complete the game.

Game: Tightrope Walker

Even the drabbest day indoors can become an afternoon at the circus, when you play tightrope walker. Use the long edge of a rug or a long line between rows of tiles as a tightrope and have your little one walk on their tippy toes, moving back and forth and twirling on the tightrope. Allow them attempt any acrobatic stunts they can think without falling!

Suggestions: Make a mini megaphone out of a paper cup or construction paper to give your little acrobat a grand introduction.

Game: Family Theater

Role playing is a great way for young children to increase their emotional intelligence by walking in another person’s (or thing’s) shoes. For family theater, let your child decide on the roles each person will play and follow along.

Suggestions: Sometimes as adults it’s natural to discard an idea because it seems illogical. When playing pretend, abide by the improv rule of “yes, and.” Affirm whatever your child has suggested and add onto it, so they don’t hit any creative road blocks or break character.

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Game: Hungry Teddy Bear

Set a table for a tea party or dinner with stuffed animals as guests. Give your child the opportunity to spoon feed her favorite teddy bear. This activity can help improve motor skills for self-feeding and teach table manners.

Suggestions: To encourage your child’s emotional intelligence development, ask questions like “do you think Teddy is enjoying the food?” or “how many spoonfuls does she need to be full?”

Game: Renaming the Solar System (and other things!)

The names of the planets in our solar system, as well as the days of the week and months of the year, originate from ancient mythology and often reflect traits of the planets or times of the year. Listen as your child renames these naturally occurring phenomena on based on their own taxonomies.

Suggestions: Ask your child to justify each name change. To really get the gears of imagination turning, have them work through the decision-making process.

With these imagination games, the possibilities are literally endless. Allow your child to create the moment and to guide the conversation or activity. When we are open to the wonders and imaginations of children, every moment is an opportunity for exploration and connection. Leave your adult worries and expectations at the door of your child’s world; once you’ve done that all you have to do is allow that connection to happen.

Winita is a staff writer at Scooterbay Publishing Inc. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and worked as a library assistant and elementary school tutor throughout college. When she's not writing, she enjoys outdoor exercise, reading at the library, and spending time with family and friends.

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