The Imagination Tree #MotivationalMonday

As I have previously discussed Education does not necessarily mean the academic side of things. Today I’m going to look at Imagination. My youngest son is waiting to be assessed for Autism, there have been signs of imaginative play – and that would rule out a diagnosis (I believe) because Autism covers 3 areas of a triad, one being Imagination. He does like to dress up (and therefore imagining he is someone else) – so they will record him playing – we shall see what the results bring. I do encourage Imaginative play and a great way to do this is with small world play. It is easier to learn when you are doing something you enjoy/want/is related to things that you like, so if you can create your own small world play it is even better. This is where the Imagination Tree steps in – winning  the MADBlog for  Best Craft I was lucky enough to meet Anna from The Imagination Tree and she shared with me her business card.

The Imagination Tree

Of course this isn’t the usual business card – but then what else would you expect from an award winning craft blog. She told me to go and make something with it and then go share it.

The Imagination Tree Business card

I’ve been wanting to join in with Mammasaurus‘ how does your garden grow linky for AGES but sadly to say that our garden needs a lot of work is an absolute understatement. The pictures would be just mud and gravel, as we try and find time to remove trees and just keep on top of the weeds – not making for an interesting read or great photos.

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?
But when I emptied my bag from The Imagination Tree I just knew that a garden could be created!
Pretend Garden flowers for Imaginative Play
I must admit that this creative attempt was mine, and mine alone (ok I’m not that good but I had fun). I made my flowers and then found a nice tray (I always recycle them and 9 times out of 10 they end up  in my craft cupboard waiting for a use, as I get through so many of them).
Craft flowers for small world play
After I had made and arranged my flowers I thought that they would like nice with some grass. I had already found the purple “nest” paper from Easter ready for a Halloween craft I have in mind – and decided that would be just perfect – and the purple made the flowers look even more girlie (something lacking in my house).
Pretend garden with flowers and purple grass

Then I collected up the toy Smurfs (ok I was being a bit sexiest and putting the Smurfettes in with the flowers) and set my son off to play with his new garden.

smurfs in the pretend garden

I don’t think he played with it as a garden for very long but he did have a great time discovering how to pull it all apart, squishing the paper into the playdough.

play smurfsplay flower

I have learnt that even though this is not, ideally, the learning I would have liked to take place, he was indeed still learning. It was great for his hands – which I have learnt are hypermobile – and he did a lot of squashing.

playdough dinosaur

And yes he used his imagination – “Look mommy, it’s a dinosaur!”

Well you wouldn’t expect anything less would you.

So maybe he’s not Autistic after all. Does your child have a diagnosis of Autism and signs of imaginative play?

Motivational Monday

Septembers theme is: EDUCATION – link up any back to school, lunch ideas, learning activities, Science experiments, any learning, fine motor, Adult education – anything really.

It is just a guide and can be to do with crafts, days out, photos, achievements, favourite things – anything.

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16 thoughts on “The Imagination Tree #MotivationalMonday”

  1. My son loves imaginary play, everything he does is with his imagination, to the point I think he sometimes looses sight of reality.
    I love the smurfettes in their garden. It looks like your son enjoyed the play x

  2. He looks like he’s really enjoyed it, it’s a brilliant garden / dinosaur 🙂 Z loves imagination play at the moment. He is forever getting us to sit in his pop up tent pretending its a car!

  3. Isn’t it social imagination, rather than imagination overall? So when I looked it up, it talked about flexibility of thought rather than specifically imaginative play. It’s such a minefield working through what all of this means though.

  4. I really believe that encouraging imaginative thought, play and action is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to our children. It’s one of the things I really value as it can help in so many situations and is an important like skill. I love the idea of creating a garden too.

  5. Imaginative play and autism: I think a great deal depends on age and the type of imaginative play… It’s a difficult area, but when he ‘dresses up and plays’ does he imagine himself as someone else, or does he tend to act out characters he knows from TV etc in roles and scenarios that he’s seen? Creating characters and scenes demands a completely different level of imaginative play than re-enactment. That segues into ‘theory of mind’ too, which is very age related. Most children start to develop ToM at around two – two and a half (that’s why it’s the terrible twos – the little beggars start learning they can have an influence on and manipulate the world around them and BOY do they like it!), but many things, including autism, can delay this. Most H/F autistic children develop some level of ToM by about six years, and many learn the influence/manipulate aspect much earlier, even within the neurotypical range.

    What people with autism really struggle with in imaginative play is ‘external’ thinking or empathy – perceiving that other people might ‘see’ things differently to them. There’s a ToM ‘test’ with a dolly and a basket that most neurotypical kids can understand by about the age of six: A H/F child with autism – or even an adult – may struggle…

    Lovely post BTW! 😀

  6. I think you created a lovely flower garden! I have two children on the spectrum. One high functioning and one lower functioning. My oldest higher functioning child (now 23) had no imagination to speak of until he was taught imaginative play by his little sister. He still uses his limited imagination in playing online games. He is in his last year of college now! My youngest (now 14) has no imagination whatsoever. Would it be to your son’s advantage or disadvantage to have an autism diagnosis? I wanted my son to get the diagnosis because I needed to know how to help him, but it sounds like you are on the right track anyway! I hope all goes well for your son and pray that he has a successful, happy, and fulfilled future whether he gets a diagnosis or not!

  7. Ahhh I love this! Very imaginative and fun. Reminds me of a really old skool kit I had in the 80’s where I grew a garden from weird crystal stuff on a tray! Surreal! Thanks for joining in Joy x


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