The amount of time that children are actually allows to be carefree children seems to have reduced in recent years; they have more worries, stresses and outside influences much earlier in their lives. The exposure to media, celebrities and news means that children are more aware of the grim realities of the modern world. Which is why it is even more important nowadays for children to be exposed to magical, imaginative worlds, places, stories and characters. Much more than computer games characters and more than the world and characters of Disney which tends to just funnel them into a large marketing machine; but really imaginative, adventurous and fun worlds, characters and stories.
Exploring new, imaginative worlds allows children to open their minds and experience creativity, problem solving and challenge themselves. The introduction of good and evil characters and storylines also means that children can explore the relationship between good and evil and consider different values, actions and consequences within a completely different world to the one they are used to. This safe, detached exposure to these themes means their inexperienced brains can make more sense of them without feeling too traumatised or scared by the effect on their own lives and people around them. As much as it is important to teach our children to be streetwise, safe and aware I believe that age needs to be a huge consideration here and it is better to introduce them to some potentially upsetting themes within the context of a magical world than the real world.
And much more than this, magical worlds expand the imagination! It sounds obvious, but if all you are exposed to as a kid is what is around you how do you learn to imagine, to dream and to discover? Exposing kids to a range of different worlds through lots of different mediums including books, films, theatre, live events, play and nature has such a long lasting impact on their ability to imagine, be creative and be innovative, it is an essential foundation of early years.
And I think it’s more than them passively watching a story unfold in another world but involving them that has the real power. Do you remember the books where you could choose to make a decision about which path to take in the story and turn to a particular page depending on your choice? These are great for children as they enable them to consider options, make decisions and then experience the consequences! It’s also why interactive workshops, creative activities and encouraging reading and writing encourages much more than passive consumption of other peoples ideas, but the creation of own ideas!
We live in a world where children are encouraged to consume other people’s ideas every day; but if they can create their own ideas they will have the world at their feet; and one of the best ways to encourage this from an early age is through the exploration of other worlds and imaginative ideas that can teach, influence and inspire; making creative and imaginative thinking second nature!
What exciting magical worlds have your children discovered? What are their favourites and what are yours? Leave a comment below and tell us, we’d love to know…….