Unicorns, fairies, Christmas magic – just how important are these for children? While adult logic mocks fantasy supposedly in favor of the “real world,” child psychology insists that encouraging magical thinking among young minds is the way to go.
Magical thinking develops the imagination, and consequently creativity.
Some of the highest paying jobs today require creativity because it is the birthplace of innovation. It is a quality, they say, that cannot be taught (either you have the talent or you don’t) but is that really the case? The way that children play has a large impact on how they perceive the world and how they put two and two together. If they believe that something other than what they directly experience is possible, they allow themselves to imagine. Developing more than just language skills, reading has the same effect of encouraging the mind to go places.
By developing the imagination, magical thinking helps in the understanding of history.
Paul Harris, a development psychologist and professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, says in this article on The Wall Street Journal that imagination is required in fully appreciating major historical events like the Civil War or the Holy Roman Empire. Viewed this way, it becomes inseparable to learning anything from Geography to Biology to Physics.
Magic leads to wonder and curiosity.
The best students are not made to do schoolwork. Rather, they are fully engaged and curious about the world around them. Beautiful residential Christmas lighting and other visually rich experiences aren’t so trivial after all. (Think Disneyland.) When children become wide-eyed in amazement, it is the start of something good, such as the question: “How did that happen?” The next time you get a chance, go all out on holiday decorations or take the time to go to beautifully done holiday-themed parks with jaw-dropping dancing lights. It is a fun way to bond with kids while supporting their cognitive development.
Whether you are at home or on vacation for the holidays, the best gifts for children are experiences that make them happy, curious, and hungry for more of the world’s beauty. With a little creativity of your own, you can easily set the stage for more magic in your child’s life.