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5 Ways to Incorporate Imaginative Play in Your Classroom

Integrating creative imagination in the classroom allows students to come up with scenarios they have experienced, would like to experience, or have come across. Students can learn a lot from an imaginative classroom. For example, students can develop:

  • Symbolic thinking
  • Language development
  • Emotionally and socially
  • Creative thinking skills

1. Create Learning Adventures

Learning adventures allow students to get out of their comfort zones and have fun with their learning experience. Adventure imagination will engage your students physically and mentally as they have clear imaginations of different places worldwide. You can incorporate adventurous activities in the limited indoor space of the classroom through creative imagination.

For all students to benefit from adventures and creative imaginations, they need to contribute to the learning activity. There are several ways that you can integrate adventurous learning into your classroom:

  • Use pictures of wild animals so students can imagine they are in a wildlife reserve.
  • Use pictures of different places worldwide so students can imagine traveling; don't forget their passports!
  • Ask students to create stories about places they have visited and their experiences.
  • Provide students with videos of adventurous places, wild animals, mountains, and bodies of water.

2. Have Students Act It Out

You can have the students act out the different projects or learning activities that the students have been handling in the classroom. For example, you could use acting to help teach social problem solving, mathematical problems, and scientific processes.

Role-playing, using props and classroom space, and animating voice and body are all elements of acting that can foster creativity and imagination in the students. Older students may enjoy this activity, especially in their English classes; it will take them back to their younger days of Readers Theater!

3. Use Puppets or Plushies

Using puppets to teach concepts can also invite students to be imaginative. You can integrate puppets into learning by having:

  • Puppets sing songs
  • Puppets read books
  • Puppets teach concepts, such as counting numbers
  • Puppets demonstrate good behavior
  • Students read to the puppets
  • Students write letters to the puppets
  • Students teach concepts to the puppets

Using puppets in the classroom can support a positive atmosphere, help students be excited about subjects that can be difficult to learn, and enhance the students' creativity.

You can do this same activity with stuffed animals. Each student can bring a stuffed animal from home and complete their work with their fuzzy friend. Young students love to show off their favorite "plushie," so you know this would be a hit!

4. Learn Outside

Learning outside the classroom exposes students to a different environment that opens up their imagination skills. Outside learning is a great opportunity for students to have different experiences by exploring subjects such as science, geography, physics, biology, and math.

Outside, students can learn about:

  • Rocks
  • Identifying various kinds of plants and animals such as seeds, caterpillars, and grasses
  • Taking Measurements
  • Animals
  • Experimenting with Gravity
  • Hunting for words and letters
  • Using snow and clay to create sculptures to represent characters in books
  • Practicing words and letters in snow and mud
  • Farming activities like creating a school garden

5. Be Hands-On with Manipulatives

Manipulatives are physical objects used to help students understand concepts. For example, you can have students use macaroni noodles to understand multiplication.

Students understand concepts better when they do them practically. When you use manipulatives in learning, your students will have abstract reasoning. Therefore, you can manipulate items to teach new concepts instead of using pens and pencils. Especially in a math classroom, you can have concrete items that will enable your students to have a hands-on approach and explore ideas actively.

Possible manipulative include:

  • Toys such as cars, when blending sounds or showing different colors
  • Letter tiles for spelling
  • Lego for letter formation
  • Art materials
  • Spinners can calculate the experimental probability of landing in a designated area
  • Number dice or cubes use to calculate the combination of numbers and how many times a certain number can roll
  • Tiles for calculating the area and perimeter of an object
  • Geometric-solid models for teaching spatial reasoning

Final Thoughts

In any way you incorporate imaginative play into your classroom, your students will remember and be grateful for the lesson. Ideas and topics will stick around longer in your student's minds when a lesson is memorable. Don't underestimate your older students' desire to use their imagination; after all, they are still children.

Written by Roselyn Kati
Education World Contributor
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