Thursday, March 17, 2011


Imagination is more important than knowledge— Albert Einstein

How’s your imagination? Have you visualized any pictures in clouds lately? A study led by Donna Rose Addis of Harvard University suggests a link between a decline in imagination and an increase in memory loss. ( As you exercise your imagination, invite your child along as well. Not only will it help you strengthen your brain, it will help her with visualization skills that are vital in good reading comprehension.

Imagination is also key when it comes to writing. When your child writes a personal narrative (autobiographical story) she needs to be able to imagine the timeline in her head. The study by Addis et al discusses a link to memory and imagination. Both use the same part of the brain.

Here are some great imagination activities:
• Puppets—make some simple puppets with your child and help her act out a fairy tale. No elaborate sets necessary—just a vivid imagination! Here’s a great website to help you get started:

• Cloud watching—get comfortable outside on a partly sunny day. You’ll need cumulous clouds for this—the puffy cotton ball types. Point out what you see in the clouds and ask your child what he sees. This may take some practice. Don’t give up.

• Squiggles—draw a squiggle on a piece of paper. Have your child turn it into a drawing. (Check this out--Creative “Squiggle” Exercise Stimulates Your Imagination)

• “What Are You Doing?” is a charade-like game with a twist! You mime (act-out) an activity such as washing dishes. Your child asks, “What are you doing?” You reply something totally different such as, “Walking the dog.” This is not as easy as it sounds!

• “No Way!” is a game where you make up the most outrageous fib you can think of as an excuse for not doing something like homework or cleaning your room. Perhaps you were kidnapped by aliens???
So next time your child says, “I’m bored,” help him use his imagination! The sky’s the limit!

Do you have any suggestions on how to boost imagination? Please leave me a comment—I’d love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Read Aloud

Reading aloud to your child can be a relaxing way to end your day. After she has a hot bath or shower, there’s nothing better than to tuck her in with a story. This habit can start before she is even born! Reading aloud and conversing with her helps her learn crucial language skills.

What to do if your child has a short attention span? Choose short, simple books with large colorful pictures. Use an excited voice and ask your child to look for various details in the pictures. Ask her what comes next. Or perhaps ask her to tell a new ending to the story. Don’t give up; eventually your child will sit through the reading of a book and be a better reader/writer because of it.

Another great time to enjoy a story together is when you’re driving in the car! Go to the library and get a book on CD. Next time you’re on a trip, pop in the CD so you and your family can listen to the story while you drive. Who knows, maybe it’ll spark some great conversation at the next rest stop?

What are some of your child’s favorite books? Leave me a comment below.