Studies have shown the important role that imagination has in the development of children’s cognitive abilities.
I am not sure where my cognitive abilities are on the scale these days, but I am part of the generation that was raised before computer games and interactive electronic devices. There were plenty of opportunities for our imaginations to be developed. We had toys that we manipulated with our hands and we did things with them that required some imagination and creativity – Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets. Grandpa kept a big cardboard box filled with wooden blocks in the spare room and we spent hours happily creating all sorts of amazing things with the blocks and not bothering the grown-ups.
And we made regular trips to the library. Books… books… and more books. We had to imagine what the things looked like that we were reading about, there weren’t always pictures. We played role-playing games that required imagination, “Cowboys and Indians,” “Army,” and other fantasy games. I can remember lying on my back in the grass when I was a little kid and looking up and imagining I was a mackerel (my dad went ocean fishing a lot) and the sky was the “top of the water” and what would it be like to be a fish?
What I’m saying is that I’ve got very active imagination. It doesn’t take much to get me going.
Naturally, one of my favorite things to do is watch the amazing shapes form in the big white puffy clouds that sail along before the wind across a bright blue sky. Whales, pigs, elephants, bears, profiles of crones with hooked noses and jutting chins… all sorts of things and creatures that appear and then disappear as the wind shapes the clouds.
I have to be careful though doing this because I tend to fall easily if I don’t watch where my feet are going, so I have to stop walking. Of course, if I don’t keep an eye on the MollyWog, then she can get into trouble too. Usually, she'll just start trying to dig out of its hole some small furry mammal, but the last time we were out walking and I started cloud gazing and stopped paying attention to her, she managed to hop over the bottom strand of the barbed-wire fence and then left part of her hair behind when she hopped back.
So I am beginning to wonder whether I have an overactive imagination. Richard recently came home with a package of stevia sweetener. It sat on the counter for a while with some other stuff he bought. Part of the photograph on the front of the package was blocked on the right by something else, and before it was finally put way, I had plenty of time to look at it… and pretty soon I started seeing a smiling face – somewhat distorted, but a face with a bow at the top of its head.
One of my dad’s favorite sayings, was “He (or she) is nuttier than a fruitcake.”
And I’m thinking I just may be getting nuttier by the day.