I think the definition of childhood innocence is imagination. When we were kids we are able to take the simplest things and turn them into something amazing. I remember my neighbour and I turned an old tree branch into the secret garden gates for our beanie babies to live in, or our patio cushions were our boats that saved us from the molten lava grass.
I remember these scenes so vividly, but I don’t remember when we stopped. When did imagining scenarios like that not become fun anymore? When did having an imagination like that become uncool?
Antoinette Portis’ book “Not a box” depicts the wonder of a child’s imagination, and what imagination can do to a box.
In my tech class this week, our class created our own “Not a box” compilation (seen below). While creating our own “not-a-box”, I fully admit that I struggled, and through discussion with a few of my classmates, I know I was not the only one. But why is accessing our imagination for some of us so difficult? Why does being creative seem more like a chore sometimes? Was I told that imagination was useless somewhere a long the way? Was I told that I should stop using my imagination and start being more realistic? I don’t have answers to the questions, and maybe I really am just not that creative of a person, but it got me thinking….
Why do we question children’s imagination? Why do we have to see what’s in front of us, rather than participating in these children’s fantasies? Why do we need an answer to, if it’s not a box what is it? I think we should encourage our students to use their imagination all the way through their elementary and high school careers. Imagination can lead to such amazing products when we give students the chance AND THE TIME, to be creative. We should not try and bring our students “back to reality”, instead we should encourage them to use that imagination to learn, to explore and to find the answers.
Check out our classroom compilation of “Not a box”!