Imagination can be called the ability of the human brain to create images or generate ideas based on real phenomena, events or objects. Imagination is closely connected with all processes of human thinking and is an important part of the mental functional. Exercises for the development of imagination are also useful for the creative component of an individual’s personality, like training in memory to improve learning or practical exercises in any field of cognitive activity.
Types of imagination
Imagination is an integral element of a person’s ability to abstract thinking - it helps to recreate images from separately existing links, plan events, create goals and find ways to achieve them. However, this process is not always subject to the desire of a person or is completely under his control. More often a person deals with the so-called passive manifestations of fantasies, which are not destined to be realized in the near future.
This is for example:
- Dreams - refer to conscious thought processes, when the individual most clearly imagines the desired images and events;
- dreams - can be created consciously or semi-consciously, and also represent desirable moments that are never destined to come true for a number of different reasons;
- hallucinations - an unconscious vision of non-existent visual pictures of a fantastic or adaptive property, the reality of which the individual does not doubt;
- dreams are a completely unconscious process, activated in a person’s resting state.
Active types of imagination are called the processes of controlled evocation of the necessary images. There are several of them too:
- creative (productive) imagination - forms images or scenarios (algorithms) of events that are later embodied in real objects or accomplishments;
- recreating - is a kind of "archive of memory" that stores and mentally restores, at the request of a person, the images and facts that took place in the past of the individual.
Every mentally healthy person has an imagination developed to one degree or another, but if you wish, the ability to operate abstractly can be strengthened, thereby revealing in yourself new potentials and previously unknown opportunities.
Facts about the formation and development of imagination
The formation of imagination in a person begins with about two and a half years and actively continues throughout the school period. The older the child becomes, the more his fantasies are adaptive to the world around him - we can say that the bulk of his dreams takes the form of goals and is perceived as a guide to action. In young children, such a concept as the feasibility of the imaginary is almost absent, so their fantasies are less attached to reality.
An individual with a weak imagination is, in fact, a person without ideas and concrete views on the future, thinking with stereotypes and not able to create anything unique. If such a condition is not a cause of stress and is familiar to a person, then his life can be likened to the existence of a biorobot aimed at satisfying physiological and, to a very small extent, spiritual needs. The people with undeveloped imagination are distinguished by extremely low emotionality, limited views and thoughts, and lack of imaginative thinking.
But if the lack of imagination is a serious flaw, then the lack of control of this process and complete dedication to him is already a medical diagnosis. This phenomenon of mental disorder is called visionary, and it is observed mainly in children of preschool and primary school age. The most common examples of visioning in children are communicating with fictional friends and attributing human properties to toys in the absence of game situations.
As a rule, in children, visionary work takes place independently in the process of growing up, and they easily part with created images in favor of real ones. For adults, the development of pathology means a complete or partial rejection of the usual concepts and rational patterns adopted in society, and it is very difficult to convince them of the illogicality of these phenomena. Most often, exalted and fanatical individuals, paranoid people with schizophrenia are subject to visionary activity.
Features of the development of imagination in young children
The education of imagination at an early age takes place on the principle of "taking the lead" - the child perceives new images from fairy tales, heard conversations, and creative activities, and then learns to compare them. It is extremely important for children to convey the information received and their fantasies created on its basis to adults. For this reason, kids older than three years old are happy to draw, play with toys (and it seems that with everyone at once) and with great interest participate in the formation of the new: building from cubes, designing, collecting pictures from elements.
After 5 years, part of the actions aimed at expressing fantasy images is replaced by the ability to think abstractly and keep the result in mind. During this period, it is important to help the child expand his existing information base through simple exercises to develop thinking and imagination. Game classes such as "Continue the logical chain", "Fanta" will be useful.
Properly selected games and exercises for the development of imagination will help the child increase vocabulary and increase the variability of thinking.
How to raise a child with a healthy imagination
Here are some tips for parents helping your child expand their horizons and create a healthy imagination:
- you need to talk with children more often - to discuss the events of the day with them, to draw their attention to various possible options for the development of various situations (“the ball hit the wall, what would happen if it flew out of the fence?”);
- it is useful to tell the preschooler about various positive or instructive (but in a positive way) incidents from his or her own life;
- children need to read, but only those works that correspond to their age.
Many children’s imagination exercises require practical reinforcement. For example, they came up with a fairy tale - they drew the main characters (made of plasticine). If a child likes to talk about animals, about nature, then walks in the park and zoological garden should become regular.
Exercises for children 6-7 years old
In the senior preschool and primary school age, the embodiment of the child’s fantasies undergoes a transformation. Most of the imaginary plots and images that are born in the consciousness of a small person no longer find manifestation in game situations and creative expression, but are lost in the mind of the child. It is at this stage that it is important to help the young visionary not to go headlong into the world of fictional images, but to subordinate his imagination to real goals, to learn how to produce ideas.
Exercises for the development of imagination in primary school students can be as follows:
- "The practice of L. N. Tolstoy." The child is shown any item that is familiar to him (notebook, lamp, table) and is asked to present him as if he came from a distant country where no one knows anything about the purpose of this item. With what accessible concepts could a foreigner describe a thing he saw and what significance would he attach to it?
- "The revived picture." First, the parent with the child should imagine that they got an amazing ability to revive everything that they draw on paper. You can start with simple images - the sun, clouds, a flower, and then move on to more complex objects - fictional characters, ancient animals, buildings. How will animated objects behave, will they need adaptation, what new properties will they manifest?
- "Magical forest". A 3-4 hand standing apart tree is drawn by a parental hand on a large sheet of paper, and all the free white space is filled with randomly scattered dots and strokes. The preschooler is given the task of painting the forest on paper, using all the random elements in the drawing, and then telling about his miracles.
Often in children's magazines or educational workbooks you can find the game tasks "Continue drawing." The child is given one simple element in the form of a capital letter or number (a geometric figure, a broken line), which is proposed to be developed to an independent image. This exercise on the development of imagination in preschoolers teaches to think logically and improves fine motor skills of the fingers.
The development of imagination in children 10-12 years old
It is difficult to persuade a teenager to “play fantasy”, because at this age children are afraid to seem ridiculous and be caught in stupidity. However, they are willingly included in the discussion of topics close to them in spirit, if you do not present these conversations as exercises for the development of imagination. It is best to time classes for watching an interesting film, visiting a museum or an exhibition. Being impressed, the student enthusiastically responds to the proposal to develop the topic.
Here are some suitable exercises for developing imagination in adolescents:
- "A tenant from an unfamiliar planet." The child, with the support of the parent, comes up with a non-existent planet with living conditions not familiar to earthlings. Based on the laws of physics and other features typical of the area, the student creates an image of the inhabitant of this planet with a detailed description.
- "Modern man". A teenager first chooses a representative of which direction of modern trends (a blogger, designer, manager) he would like to describe, and then with the help of an adult he creates an average type of this abstract person (a realtor is fussy, obliging, cunning, etc.).
Psychologists recommend introducing into the familiar routine of the family such a game-exercise for the development of imagination in schoolchildren as “New Properties”, which helps to better develop the variability of thinking and logic. At any moment, one of the players points to some ordinary object (soap box, stool, boot), and all those present should come up with and name at least three new ways to use this thing. For example: “A soap dish is a boat for a gnome, a box for pearls, a hopper for germs.”
The development of creative imagination in children
Exercises for the development of imagination in preschool children always include game elements aimed at revealing the creative side of the child. Little children are not afraid to seem ridiculous, so their fantasies are revealed more fully and more colorful - you just need to choose an interesting way for their manifestation.
Here are some games and exercises for the development of imagination in children 5-7 years old that psychologists offer to conduct at home:
- “Circle the palm.” The child tightly presses his palm to a sheet of paper and traces it with a pencil. What does a handprint look like - a tree crown, a funny little man or a dragon? Let the child himself see in the sketch an element for the future picture and draw it as he sees fit.
- "Blot". An adult puts an ink blot on a thick sheet of paper, then bends the sheet in the middle, “mirroring” the stain so that one big blot is obtained. The child should see on the card the outlines of some image familiar to him, and if possible several.
- "Who is what." Through a carbon paper, an adult transfers several identical figures of men (wizards, superheroes, princesses) onto paper. The child is invited to color the pictures so that one character turns out to be good, the other - evil, the third - cunning and so on.
Exercises for the development of imagination in schoolchildren of 7-9 years old may already include elements of free imagination. Suppose that after watching a cartoon or reading a book, a child fantasizes on the topic of what would happen if the story ended in a different way. Who would then be among the winners, and who among the losers? What if the dead heroes were alive and the good characters were evil?
Among the exercises for developing creative imagination in children of any age, one can distinguish one universal one that helps the child always look at the world around him with interest. This is a game of “Guess what?”. The child is asked to imagine that he, for example, is a robot (kitten, alien, dragon, Chinese), who is shown an object previously unknown to him (ring, dog leash, button, nesting doll). How will a fictional character react to a new subject, what impression will he receive, what purpose will he come up with?
How to develop the imagination of an adult
Plunging headlong into the routine of everyday worries, an adult deliberately limits his vision of the world to the narrow framework of the events and images he needs. This does not mean that his ability to imagine is lost, but to realize it every year is harder for him.
Exercises for the development of imagination in adults are created taking into account the need to abandon the baggage of old patterns that make you think with stereotypes. The consciousness of an adult is designed in such a way that when trying to think outside the box, a whole chain of protective mechanisms is turned on in his head. For this reason, it is not necessary from the first days to try to devote more than 10 minutes in a row to exercises for the development of imagination.
It is advisable to start with a simple observation in conditions close to ordinary - for example, on the way home from work. Even the path traveled many times can be fraught with many surprises, which will make you laugh and shock if you look at them more carefully. A funny ad made on the wall, burning windows of a high-rise building, forming alphabetic or numeric characters - you just have to open your mind to the unusual, as the imagination will work with a vengeance.
Adult Fantasy Exercises
A well-developed imagination is characterized primarily by the liberation of consciousness, which cannot be obtained if you think in standard cliches. Is a conch shell, brought from vacation, suitable only to become an ashtray? Filled with soil mix and fixed with a hole up, the shell easily turns into a mini-pot for dwarf cactus. Or, varnished, forms the basis of a marine installation. How many other items in the house are "out of place"?
In addition to this simple training on quick wits that can be done anywhere, psychologists suggest using such exercises to develop imagination and imagination:
- "What if…". What if all cooling systems in supermarkets in the world simultaneously stop working? What if the air on the planet turns into a laughing gas? By asking himself such seemingly ridiculous questions and “unrolling” them in detail to an exhaustive answer, a person learns to see ordinary things from an unexpected angle and find logical solutions in the most complicated situations.
- "Hidden meaning". This exercise on the development of imagination from the screenwriter Jean Pere can be played in your head every free minute when you can flip through a magazine or gallery of pictures on the Internet. It is necessary to uncover at random the first image that comes across and try to come up with at least 10 humorous signatures that reveal the secret meaning of the picture.
The trendy nowadays direction of voicing foreign films with the “goblin” translation is another excellent option to “pump over” your idea of the normality of the world. When watching any film on TV, you just need to turn on the silent video mode and try to create your own version of the "voice acting" of the film. It may look silly and even delusional, but with regular training this imagination development exercise can transform an ordinary gray person into a local star of humor.
The development of imagination in creative natures
Creative “re-pumping” is necessary for every person who wants to stand out from the crowd, show his personality or test himself in the field of his own. Exercises for the development of the writer's imagination must necessarily be accompanied by visualization, and the brighter the “picture”, the higher the effect of the lesson.
So, examples of home workouts for novice writers:
- You need to take any small object (soft toy, comb, hairpin), consider it for 10-15 seconds, and then, closing your eyes, describe it as fully as possible, using metaphors and other literary means, techniques and turns of speech.
- Take a volume of verses by any author, open it on an arbitrary page and immediately read the first line that appears. Now you need to compose your own quatrain, the first phrase of which will be the selected line.
- Every day you need to make a rule in 100 words to describe any one factor, phenomenon or condition. For example, if the natural phenomenon “wind” is chosen, then the appropriate words would be: unpleasant, to pierce, tear, blow, etc.
It is useful for future authors to deal with written descriptions as often as possible, and it does not matter what exactly. You can recall one something remarkable day from your life and describe it, you can describe in writing your friend, a dentist, a neighbor from the house opposite. You should often try on the roles of other people (or even creatures) and try to describe the world visible through their eyes.
A rich imagination is an extraordinary gift of nature, which she endowed with every person, without exception. You can leave this ability to see the world in bright colors without attention or in every possible way encourage your own ability to live an extraordinary life - the decision is made individually. But you should always remember that historically significant acts, ingenious actions and important discoveries are available only to those people who are not afraid to let the unusual and wonderful into their world.