Have you ever met someone that had no ability to imagine anything outside the box in which they live. It pains me to talk with this type of person. It is like talking to a piece of wood that, while floating on the ocean, keeps repeating "the world is flat, the world is flat".
I would go mad if I did not have a way to release all the things that float around in my head. My ability to imagine anything is going on 24/7 whether I am awake or asleep. Much of what I write stems from my dreams.
According to Remez Sasson in his article 'The Power of Imagination'; 'Imagination is the ability to form a mental image of something that is not perceived through the senses. It is the ability of the mind to build mental scenes, objects or events that do not exist, are not present or have happened in the past. Memory is actually a manifestation of imagination. Everyone possesses some imagination ability. In some it may be highly developed and in others it may manifest in a weaker form. It manifests in various degrees in various people.'
'Imagination makes it possible to experience a whole world inside the mind. It gives the ability to look at any situation from a different point of view, and enables one to mentally explore the past and the future.'
A writer could not put a single word on paper without imagination. If not for our imaginations we would still be looking for fire or the wheel. We could not have conceived the concept of God without first imagining how we got here.
I have seen parents and teachers try and stifle daydreaming as an idle and useless activity. While I agree that excessive daydreaming can be distracting to the learning process; daydreaming is a source of imagination development.
I am an admitted 'chronic daydreamer'. I should probably attend 'Daydreamers Annonymous'. But it is daydreaming that has formed my ability to imagine anything and to convert that imagination into stories. It is my ability to imagine anything that allows me to act out, in my mind, the actions of characters I am developing.
Sit and and watch little boys with their toy soldiers or race cares and you will see imagination at work. I use to love to sit and listen to my youngest daughter make up story lines for her Barbies. Her imagination was a wonderful thing to watch develop.
Give your children some drawing materials and let them go wild. What they draw may look silly or strange to us but to them it all makes perfect sense. People have tried to bring some children's drawings to life, Here are some examples.
Who knows if these are close to what the child who drew them was imagining but what we have to realize is that they are interpreting what they see and imagine around them.
Let them daydream a little. Listen to them when they try and explain their drawings. You may learn a little about the way they think and maybe about the way they perceive you.