The Importance of Imagination for Children

Amazing things happen when we work together!a blog series highlighting some of key times I’ve helped (alongside others) to organise entertainment for children and families – Issue IV

As part of my dedication to continuously improving, I often sit down with my fellow magicians and chat about life, magic, the universe and everything! In one of those recent conversations, we got speaking about what the benefit of magic is to the world. Well, this is a big subject, but just one thing I highlighted was its ability to grow IMAGINATION!

The purpose of art is often described as giving people the chance to make sense of our place in the world, ask questions we would not otherwise have asked and appreciate things we have never experienced before. Imagination is fundamental to that process. Imagination allows children to explore experiences they wouldn’t normally have. Sidenote: I think it’s vital for adults too.

As children, imagination allows you to visit far off lands, fantasy worlds, meet historical characters or to be a king or queen for the day. It’s like a personal Virtual Reality headset but for free. It really is limitless.

Magic and Imagination for children

Developing a strong imagination is an essential part of a child’s development. As well as being fun, it allows them to grow up as creative thinkers and people who innovate, solve problems, see things from another person’s point of view and have the freedom of mind to see the wider picture. That’s some benefit, right?! When people in job interviews talk about “critical thinking skills”, what they really mean is imagination.

Imagination and Magic

Storytelling and play provide opportunities for children to develop their imagination but also their communication skills, their listening skills and improve their vocabulary.

This is something I bring out through my magic shows when I use storytelling to capture children’s interest, inviting them on a magical invented journey that takes place not only on stage but also in their mind’s eye. This is taken further by actively engaging the children in the story. Children feel important when they feel helpful and so throughout my performances, I encourage the children to be more than just a passive viewer and instead be actively engaged in the show.

Take a look at one of the videos I created for youtube for my attempt to do this through video:

Magic itself triggers the imagination in a way, unlike other art forms. In the linked-to article, Children’s Imagination Important for Cognitive Development, psychologist Jacqueline Woolley, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, studies the process of magical thinking, or how children learn to distinguish between what is real and what isn’t.

She and her team found that while children as young as three understand the concept of what is real and what isn’t, they hold onto their beliefs about some fantastical characters, like Father Christmas, and magicians. I have had children explain to me that magic isn’t usually real, but it can become real when a magician does it.

Little Scientists

Ideally, the child will, like a scientist, eventually discover the true reality, and therefore it could be suggested that parents might encourage this inquisitive nature by asking, “Is there something you saw or heard that makes you think that was real or wasn’t real?”

This is the approach I take for my magic. The story is that magic is real and it exists in that fantasy world. My character, the magician, can travel to that world and cause the magic to leak from that place to this world. Whether magic is actually real or not, I leave up to the children, and when asked offer a smile and ask, “What do you think?”

Want me to help out at your child’s birthday party or family celebration? click here to email me.

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