3 Fun Exercises to Help Kids Develop Their Imaginations

A child’s imagination is the door to all possibilities.

Teaching our kiddos to connect their hearts to their future by using their imaginations can be a counter balance to all that creativity-sucking screen time they were born into. That may seem a bit dramatic, but for many, there hasn’t been a need to entertain themselves long enough to find the gap that beckons them into the field of imaginative daydreaming.

These words from South Pacific tell it plain: “You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”

Explore these exercises with your students or clients by first using the Slow Breath Practice© to make space for the dreams and visions to reveal themselves.

Breathe in slowly for a count of four, hold for two, then breathe out slowly for a count of five. Do this a few times to set up your students’ receptive creative mode before they begin one of the following activities.

Activities to Expand Students’ Imagination

1. I’m Famous! 

Students are told that it’s now 20 years in the future. Things have gone extremely well for them. In fact, they are FAMOUS. Give each student a piece of paper. They have the choice to draw a detailed picture or write about all the reasons they are famous. To help them figure out what made them famous, ask them to think about the things they love to do or something they think would be cool to do. They can research that profession or activity for inspiration and ideas.

Activities

  • The interview: Set up a talk show set in front of your class or space (two chairs will do). One student is the talk show host, the other is one of the many “famous” people in the class or group. Brainstorm with all the players to create a list of questions the host can ask the guest.
  • Students find partners and take turns telling the other person why they are famous.
  • The teacher or group leader collects and reads the explanation or shows the picture each participant created.The rest of the students guess who it is.
  • Students share why they are famous with the rest of the group or class.
  • Act as if: dress up day: participants plan out an outfit that their future self might be wearing and bring it to school for any of the above activities. To extend this exercise, they could wear it and “be” that person for a designated amount of time.

2. Crystal Ball

Students draw a picture or make a collage of their future. Perhaps it’s in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or any time frame you or they choose. Perhaps they do this with a few different time projections.

Some suggestions to include in their drawing or collage:

  • where they live
  • what vehicles they drive
  • the people in their lives
  • what they love to do
  • where they work or go to school
  • places they vacation and travel to
  • pets they have
  • objects that are important to them
  • what they do for recreation and fun
  • community service or kindness projects they are involved with

3. Imagine This!

Students sit in a circle as a beanbag (or substitute) is passed around to each one. But the beanbag isn’t an ordinary beanbag. It’s any object the leader says it is. For example, the leader may pretend it’s a kitten and as she’s holding it say, “Watch out for its claws! Ouch! Good kitty. Pet it nicely to make it purr.” The leader passes the “kitten” around the circle and each player holds it and interacts with it for a few seconds.

Here are some other objects to assign to the beanbag. Feel free to add yours!

  • An ice cream cone
  • Jello
  • A baby rabbit
  • A crystal ball that can answer any questions about the future
  • Brownies right out of the oven
  • A pet snake
  • Sticky paper
  • A big bowl of buttered popcorn
  • A magic bean that grows into anything you want it to be
  • A beautiful smelling rose
  • A shell from the beach that sounds like ocean waves
  • A microphone and you need to make an announcement or sing a song
  • A glass of milk left out for two days
  • An ice cube
  • A piece of pie made with your favorite ingredients (changes from player to player).

Have fun playing these games with your kids! If you know any teachers or education professionals who could use this game, feel free to share it!

Want more games?

Use our eBook “3 Fun and Simple Games to Teach Relationship Skills to Students with Autism” to teach SEL skills to your students!

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