I am happy to welcome author of The What Squirrels Do Trilogy, Hazel Nut.
Developing Imagination From An Early Age
This is a guest post by Lord and Lady Doherty – parents of “Hazel Nutt”.
Being relatively new parents (our little one is now a toddler of two), it has been a really pleasurable experience watching her progress from a little smile to becoming more and more interactive, as her imagination and creativity starts to shine through. At the moment our life’s purpose is to nurture and help her develop into the best she can be.
First of all, it is essential to keep feeding her little mind with food for thought. We do this just by talking to her constantly throughout the day about what we are doing, what things are and talking to her like she understands us. Our toddler understands so much, we really have to be careful what we say, especially if the words park, field or car feature in a sentence!
We also sing her lots of songs, which she has certain gestures for if she wants a particular song, for example: a circular motion with her hands for the “Wheels on The Bus” and touching her nose for “Little Peter Rabbit had a Fly on his Nose”. She loves buses and knows so many body parts from the Little Peter Rabbit song!
Even TV and DVDs help develop imagination. I know some people restrict or do not allow TV for toddlers or babies, but there are things that our little one has picked up and learned from watching a DVD, like how to throw and catch a ball (although we do practise this with her), learning about different animals, getting mucky and an obsession about the colour blue!
She also loves watching and laughing at the funny video clips programmes, especially when people fall down! A lot of the time the TV might be on in the background and she will play and run about. We would not let her sit in front of it for hour upon hour (she’d get bored anyway).
Reading her picture books has also been very important in this development so far. She has learned animal noises, we do the actions that the characters do in the book (like in Guess How Much I Love You), she laughs when we put on funny voices to show different characters and we find objects that we see in the books around the house, to name a few things. There are times when she was little and seemingly unresponsive to our reading efforts, that we briefly thought “is it worth it?” – YES IT IS!
Just like play is essential. When we play with Hazel, it does not matter if she goes off on a different tangent, it’s her play and imagination after all. This makes us laugh, when a pirate becomes a one legged goose being chased by a flock of flying cows. Who are we to argue!
As well as reading about imaginary things, we talk about imaginary things as well, like we tell her about fairies at the bottom of the garden and point out fairy rings, when we see circles of fungi. We talk about tree nymphs and the mini dragons that transport them everywhere. Hazel loves a good story. She inspires us and we inspire her.
It is out of this mutual inspiration that we were able to create a trilogy of picture books about squirrels. We often see squirrels in the trees and we go for lots of walks and talk about them and what funny things they could get up to when no-one is looking, so we created a series of books which share the funny antics we have come up with. They have fast become Hazels’ favourite picture books!
It’s not always just about developing a child’s imagination, as they reawaken their parent’s imagination too – so lets not let becoming mature deaden our imagination, but let our little ones re-kindle it, as Hazel has done with us. We are not going to let our imaginations go to sleep again!
About the Author:
Hazel Nutt is a baby who is nutty about nature, especially squirrels, whom she often has a good natter with. They tell her their secrets and her parents help her write them down to share with the world, as picture books.
Loving nature is really important to her and Hazel Nutt hopes to make sure that lots of other kids get nutty about nature as well.
She also likes to blog about her observations on life and teach other toddlers how to train their parents.
About the Books:
Ideal for an adult and child to read together the “What Squirrels Do” series combines imaginative rhyme with delightful illustrations. The books inspire little imaginations and instil the seeds of a lifelong love for reading and nature.