Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Reflections on Imagination

Today Bonnie Hunter posted an interesting blog that got me to thinking.
You can read her post here:

I found this through Google images.
She talks about the lack of imagination and play time, real old fashioned play time that kids today have.  Not time on the computer, or organized sports, but the kind we had as kids where we built tents out of blankets and forts out of snow and imagined a whole new world.  You were the princess in the castle with the knight on a white stallion who defeated the dragon, or you were the knight who was fighting the dragon.  Your world was anything you imagined it to be, not the world that some computer geek dreamed up and programed into a computer game for you to play.
Bonnie's comments got me thinking about the changes in my students over the last almost thirty years of teaching and how assignments that allowed students to use their imaginations and write stories or draw their own Greek city-state started out as some of the best loved and most wonderful pieces the students turned in. Yet towards the end of my teaching career became long drawn out battles because they did not know what to write, or wanted me to tell them what to put where in their city-state.  They could not picture it in their minds, or what they pictured came straight out of a video game.  They did not enjoy the process of closing their eyes and imagining what the world could be. It was all computer generated.
"What you want me to draw and color? Can't I just cut and paste pictures from the internet?" Were typical responses from students when asked to do these things.
Found on Wikipedia
I can remember back about ten years ago when we were doing a fairy tale unit, as part of the unit I showed students the movie "The 10th Kingdom" and then asked them to write their own fairy tales. Those students turned in wonderful stories, stories that I would never have though some of them had in them.  You are talking kids who had reading and writing disabilities and I was often lucky to get five sentences, writing five page stories full of details of what they saw in their mind. Fast forward to today and they do not even know what a fair tale is in some cases.
 Found this on Wikipedia
Found on Wikipedia
I put the fault with some parents, they do not read to their children, they over schedule them and plunk them down in front of the computer or television. Bonnie is right games we played, or even that our kids played are no longer played on the street. Today a relative posted a comment on Facebook about doing something
Old School."  She said she was playing Nintendo.  When I think "Old School" I think of hula hooping, kick the can, or board games like Monopoly and Twister.  I guess that is why they call it a generation gap.

Kids today do not have the time to just be kids, and are not encouraged to develop their LEGO®imaginations. They are not read to, reading is a wonderful way to spark a child's imagination, as are LEGOs, crayons, and other toys that foster a child's ability to be creative and to make up things. It is sad to see how backward in someway we are heading because of all the advances that we have, which are really simply way to stifle creativity and imagination.


  1. When I was a kid we played outside as much as possible. I remember loving crafts at day camp in the summer (imagine that)LOL. We biked, roller skated, played catch. We read in my pup tent. One friend and I used to 'sleuth' ala Nancy Drew.
    When forced indoors we played board games and Barbies. Those dolls had elaborate stories surrounding them.
    I am glad that I read to my girls and they both love to read. One writes a lot, the other writes and crafts.
    Easier to have an imagination if you can look up from the electronic gadgets once in a while.

    1. Beth I agree with it all. I remember crafts at girl scout camp and meetings, playing with my Barbies, biking, skates with a key, and lots of board games and puzzles. I also learned to do hand piecing/quilting from my grandma, and crocheting from our housekeeper when we lived overseas. I also remember and still own some Nancy Drew Books, as well as The Hardy Boys, Cherry Ames, The Bobbsey Twins, and Honey Bunch.



This is a great way to explain things and how some days are for me when I over do or have too much on my plate and have to slow down. Thoug...