Photographing the Imaginative Child | by Melissa Richard
Play is the highest form of research. ~ Albert Einstein
Being a working mom and a mother of two, I find myself all too well becoming wrapped up in our busy day to day life that is so technology driven. As I am a mother nearing the ripe old age of forty, I have really started to reflect a lot on my own childhood. I have decided to slow down and bring back the “basics” in my home and family, especially regarding play and our family time shared together. Since becoming so nostalgic, I have been sharing many of my favourite things from my childhood with my own children. It has also given me lots of opportunities to bring out my camera to practice.
I have so many memories listening to vinyl records as a child. There have been so many studies out there indicating that listening to music helps to boost your creativity. That “crackle” of the player as you anticipate the song to start always brings me way back.
Since adding a record player to our living room, it has really piqued the interest of my youngest. He has spent time watching the record spin, studying the needle with a magnifying glass even!
As a child, I had a ukulele and a harmonica. We bought ukuleles for our children, and have had countless shows performed for us, even some song writing has happened. We have many videos to reminisce and look back on when they become a singer, or a songwriter. Or, maybe just a hilarious video to embarrass them with at their wedding.
My daughter is a little artist, she draws and paints all the time. I introduced her to the Light Brite and enjoyed watching her create her art in a different way. My son also has a lot of fun jamming the pegs in. I will note however that not every reproduction is as amazing as the particular toys we had growing up. The new version of the Light Brite is okay, but it is a smaller work surface than the original that I grew up with.
Easy Bake Oven
I loved my Easy Bake Oven as a child. I always enjoyed looking through my grandmother’s and my mother’s cookbooks. I was always looking for something I thought I could bake myself. It generally ended up being tea biscuits, as the ingredients were always on hand and didn’t require an extra trip to the store. My daughter is showing an interest in baking so naturally, Santa brought her an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas this year.
Hopes and Dreams
When I was a child I always wanted to be a teacher. I played school daily with my friends, or with just my dolls and stuffed animals. I remember making my own lesson plans and marking my student’s work. Guess what I became when I grew up? A teacher. My youngest is dreaming of becoming an astronaut. We are now fostering his love of astronomy. I have no doubts he will make it to the moon and back someday.
Chapter Books/ Read Aloud
I vividly remember my grade two teacher, Mrs. Campbell, reading us chapter books. Books such as Charlotte’s Web, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8. I loved imagining the characters, the settings, and the potential plot to follow. I remember the anticipation I felt wondering what was going to happen next, as she finished a chapter and gently placed a bookmark to hold our spot until the following day. We started this at home, with our children. We have begun reading Stuart Little together as a family.
Sometimes kids need to be “bored” so that their own imaginations can soar. It encourages them to invent and become critical thinkers. Maybe as artists and photographers we also need to be “bored” to spark our own creativity. Only when we shut ourselves off from the outside world even for a little while, we can then daydream and sometimes discover new interests.
I carried my slinky around my arm or in my pocket. I loved the feel of moving it back and forth between my hands. Can you hear it now? Or is the slinky jingle now stuck in your head like me?
I loved playing with dominoes, but didn’t always have the patience to stick with it. I always seemed to (and still do) just get to the end of my intricately built path, just to knock it over prematurely.
As a child, I couldn’t just go to the store and purchase gifts for my loved ones. I made them! These were always the best gifts, and much more meaningful. Since my daughter is a little artist herself, she will create beautiful canvas paintings as gifts.
This trip down memory lane has given us countless hours of fun as a family. It has also given me wonderful opportunities to practice my photography while documenting these priceless moments!