“When do you use your imagination?” I asked my daughter this week.
“At playgrounds and pools, riding bikes, playing with chalk, playing with water balloons…” Her list went on.
It probably would be easier to say when she ISN’T using her imagination.
“With water balloons? Really?” I ask. “How do you use your imagination when you’re playing with water balloons?
Without skipping a beast she replies, “The water balloons are fire bombs. And if I get hit by it that means I just got fire bombed. And if I catch it, that means I get to throw it back and if daddy misses it he gets burned.”
Intrigued by her response, I wanted to know more.
“What do you imagine when you’re riding a bike?” I ask.
“We pretend we’re a character from a movie, like Lightning McQueen or Chick or Francesco from Cars,” she said. “Or we pretend we’re dinosaurs and one is trying to chase the other.”
Now this is really something.
“What about when you’re swinging?
“When we’re swinging on the swing set we pretend we’re flying somewhere. Like to Utah or a football game, Australia.”
“What about in this picture? What were you doing?”
“I was imagining that I was on the moon jumping, seeing how the gravity is.”
“Do you ever just play or are you always imagining stuff?”
“I ALWAYS use my imagination.”
“Because one of the things I love to do is imagine because it’s fun and it makes games fun.”
“What about something like cleaning your room?”
“How could I use my imagination for that?” She asked.
“You could pretend to be Cinderella, ordered to clean a room.
She thought about this for a moment then decided that was a pretty good idea for completing her task. She asked me to help by acting like the Evil Stepmother giving a command.
I’ve always seen my daughter as a having an extremely wild imagination. This often leads to her sneaking into our room at night, fearful of the monsters or witches that may come into her room.
My son isn’t much different. Sometimes he pretends to be a vicious predator like his favorite dinosaur toys. Other times he’s meowing as he tries to curl on my lap like a little kitten.
As a kid I played outside for hours, imagining scenarios from cops and robbers to lost princesses, to super heroes. Watching my children run around the neighborhood with their own little pretend scenarios takes me back to that age and stage where anyone could be anything.
They run from scene to scene only breaking for a quick sip of water, or to scarf down a snack. Sometimes even incorporating it into the game. A gluten-free CLIF Kid Z bar Protein, for example can become a long awaited meal after walking for days through a hot desert.
The last thing I want to do is stifle their dream world.
“Do you use your imagination mommy?” My daughter asked me. The question caught me off guard. I didn’t want to say no, but I was having a hard time thinking of an example. I told her sometimes I imagine I have secret super powers (this is actually a truthful, but very rare occurrence). I also sometimes imagine I’m racing an important clock when I’m trying to clean the house. My imagination also sometimes gets the best of me when I picture worst-case scenarios when we are hiking through a park.
“Do you think you’ll always use your imagination? Even when you’re a grownup?” I asked her.
“YES!” She said. “Because it’s one of the things that makes me, me!”
I hope it always will be.
I’m passionate about getting my children outdoors to play, explore and stay active. That’s why I’ve partnered with CLIF for 2017, to share our adventures together as a family. CLIF Kid Zbar Protein bars have 5 grams of protein and are now gluten free! You can learn more about this product here.