Friday, December 5, 2014

Imagination Games

Imagination has come up in serendipitous ways this week.  Part of our story time was about imaging hot and cold weather and our physical reaction to it (though that did not require much imagination with the peculiar Dallas weather we have this time of year.) Then, it came up in an article and on a television show my son was watching.

Imagination games are great ways to fill a couple minutes in story time.  You can use one as pre-reading to prepare kids and remind them of previous schema/knowledge, or after a story when you want to check for understanding.  Keeping the body busy enhances kinesthetic memory and engagement. Here are a couple ways I've been using imagination games this week:

The Imagination Dance Game (great for transition time)
Dance like a salt and pepper shaker.
Dance like a ball.
Dance like a flower.
Dance like a book!

Winter "Move your body" like...
You're in the snow with no coat!
You're sipping hot cocoa.
You're making snowballs with no gloves on!
You're warming your hands by the fire.

Imagination games relating to story
Take scenes from a book that have strong imagery and act them out, even if they're just a quick gesture.  In "Something Beautiful" by Sharon Wyeth, I had the children imagine how it felt for the heroine to erase the hateful messages on her apartment door and sweep the courtyard- acting out healing her home helps the kids focus on the message of creating beauty in things they can control.

Yoga poses, one of my favorite imagination games, don't require much space but allow good stretching opportunities.  Once children get into a pose, they can be encouraged to move and make sounds appropriate to the animal, object or person.  Inventing poses is a favorite activity of several of my students.

One of my son's favorite imagination games is "Playing Puppies."  I pretend to go to a pet store and "buy" him, but I have to guess what kind of animal he is by the way he moves and the answers he gives to my questions.  Then, he "comes home" with me and we interact, using the criteria he gave to identify himself.  It's silly and fun, and I have a hard time saying no when he wants to play.  One day. play like this will lead to theater impromptu games, and those are some of the most fun!

There are so many more ways to incorporate movement and imagination play.  Traditional toys and play items, like a jump rope, sheets and boxes are natural for at-home imagination play.  The big boxes in my living room are castles, garages, stores and cabins on various days.

What are some other great imagination games?

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