Monday, December 17, 2012

When imagination develops!

Babies are not born with fully developed powers of imagination. In the infant and early toddler stages, their understanding of the world is based-solely on direct interaction with the people and things around them. Then, usually at about 18 months, a child develops the ability to form mental images and, as her vocabulary expands, to give these images names. Now that she is able to like her knowledge to symbols – to create and name a mental image of a boat and how it works, for example – the child begins to combine objects and ideas in creative ways. She uses one object represent another: A bar of soap floating in the bath becomes a boat crossing a pond. Emotions, too, come into play. The child imagines a doll as a new baby to be fed and loved.

 Fantasy becomes the child’s tool for exploring the adult world and, by trail and error, for finding a place in that world. The child is constantly seeking ways to assimilate new experiences into her picture of reality. Confused by the differences between male and female, a little girl may announce that she is a boy and try to sample life from that perspective. Troubled by feelings of anger or aggression, a boy may shout “Bang! Bang!” and lure his father into a make believe fight. Imagination also provides the opportunity to fulfill a wish, to be in control or just to hold onto good feelings for a while longer.