The Child Within

As a drama teacher, I tend to recognize adults who are imaginative and still have a playfulness about them. Its interesting to find that some of these people had childhoods with few toys, no board games, certainly not the money to participate in sports or music with expensive equipment or instruments. For many, time after school was taken up with farm chores and homework.

But I consider the music and ballet lessons I had. The dress up box to create plays, the theatre and debating teams as I got older. The live musicals I was taken to or the ones where I performed. Its been well documented the vital importance of imaginative play for young children to develop speech and socialization. So how did these adults nurture their imagination? left to their own devices, a treehouse was built, hay stacks became ancient kingdoms, bush land became enchanted forests or battlefields.

Empty cornfields became baseball pitches, where your hand was the bat. Imaginative play was internalized, not presented passively to you by the flick of a switch or an image on a computer screen. recently I showed someone how to play Charades who had never played it. We laughed at the silliness of mime and I marvelled at their inventive and fertile mind.

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