3 Tips to Help Students Use Their Imaginations

Imagination is your bridge to the unseen, the unknown, the infinite possibilities in the field of dreams. Through our imagination we conjure up future scenarios (intentions/goals/desires), make meaning out of our current situation (drawing from prior knowledge), re-vision our past (review/analyze/adjust), and picture ourselves in other’s shoes (empathy). Wow! We can help our students to wisely use this tool.

Here are three tips to help your students cultivate their imaginations:

External Visuals

Use external visuals to spark internal visuals. Not everyone can easily “see” in their mind. Choose a theme. Have students make collages, draw, or color images that go with the theme. When they’re done, have them close their eyes and describe out loud what they made, or drew, or colored.

Visualize a Story

Read or tell a story. Ask students to listen with eyes closed to imagine the visuals that they “see” while you talk. When the story’s over, have them write, draw, or verbally share what images they “saw”.

Play Pretend

Pass a beanbag or other object and “pretend” it’s something else. Students “show” what it is by interacting with it. A student might pet the beanbag and say “meow”. After establishing what it is, the student passes the beanbag to another student. To scaffold this imagination exercise, fill a jar with ideas written on slips of paper for what object the beanbag might be. Students pick from the jar when it’s their turn.

Do you have any tips to share? Comment below!

Here’s an exercise to help our students cultivate their imaginations.

The Game: Lemon Aide

Use this script:

Relax into your seat and close your eyes. I want you to imagine yourself in your kitchen. If you can’t see it, that’s ok. Just listen to my voice. Look around at the counters, the sink, the oven. Perhaps you smell cookies baking. On the counter is a big, juicy lemon. You pick it up and notice its bright yellow color and its bumps. Now imagine that the lemon has just been cut in half and then in half again. Imagine that you pick up a piece of the lemon. Now you place the lemon wedge into your mouth and bite down into the lemon. Taste the sour juice on your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Open your eyes. 

Discussion Questions:

1. Were you able to see yourself in your kitchen? 

2, Were you able to see the lemon?

3. Did you feel your mouth get watery as you thought about the lemon in your mouth?

4. Could you taste the lemon?

5. What does this tell you about the power of your imagination?

6. When have you let your imagination scare you?

7. How can you use your imagination to make your life better?

We play a lot of improv games in our signature program, SocialEyes Together. I want to make improv accessible to as many students as possible which is why I created the free eBook “3 Fun and Simple Games to Teach Relationship Skills to Socially Challenged Students.” Anyone can play these games with students!

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