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Your school-age child’s imagination and creativity are skyrocketing. New experiences fuel this creativity and add to the store of information your child has about the world.

Encouraging good behaviour: 12 tips
 

What to expect

By school age, your child will probably:

  • have a clearer understanding of what’s real and what’s pretend
  • be able to plan out new creative art
  • enjoy learning a musical instrument
  • have a rich imagination and enjoy pretend play.

Your child now has the ability to dream up elaborate situations and invent amazing ‘machines’. On top of this, your child probably still loves to retreat into the world of imagination.

You can encourage this flourishing imagination by helping your child write stories, make plays and paint pictures. Time spent playing dress-ups and performing puppet plays helps your child learn to solve problems through creative thinking.

Research shows that kids can’t resist being creative if they are given the chance for unstructured, open-ended play. They also need time and space to explore. 

Your child will be more likely to delve into the world of creativity and imagination if limits are placed on screen time – that is, time spent in front of a television, computer or hand-held device. Experts currently recommend no more than two hours of screen time a day for children over five.

Ideas to encourage imaginative and creative play

You can enhance your child’s imagination and creativity through play by:

  • telling stories and reading books
  • keeping a craft box of paints, pencils, paste, scrap paper and other materials that your child can plunder when looking for stimulation
  • playing word games, including silly rhymes and riddles
  • building cubby houses with cardboard boxes or other household odds and ends, or setting up ‘secret’ clubs
  • playing dress-ups
  • listening to music together
  • playing with musical instruments
  • watching fantasy movies for kids
  • providing lots of new experiences, such as trips to the zoo and museum, visits to friends, and walks along the beach.
All children develop at their own pace. If you’re concerned about any aspect of your child’s development, it’s a good idea to visit a health professional.
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  • Last Updated 24-03-2010
  • Last Reviewed 02-11-2009
  • Child and Youth Health South Australia (1996). Practical parenting 1-5 years. Melbourne: ACER.

    Rubin, K.H., Bukowski, W., & Parker, J.G. (1998). Peer interactions, relationships and groups. In W. Damon & N. Eisenberg (eds), Handbook of child psychology, vol 3: Social, emotional and personality development (5th ed). New York: Wiley & Sons.
     
    Thomson, R.A. (1998). Early sociopersonality development. In W. Damon & N. Eisenberg (eds), Handbook of child psychology, vol 3: Social, emotional and personality development (5th ed). New York: Wiley & Sons.