Play, Imagination, and Critical Thinking

Currently, in most academic fields with young children, the emphasis on “academics” has increased. It is a very good thing that we can now see the capabilities of very young children and can begin when a child is young with the right approach to point a lifetime attitude towards learning into a much more positive one.

However, the downside is that sometimes there is an over-emphasis on only the academics and a de-emphasis on play. When academics and play are combined, the results are positive, engaging, amazing, and lifelong.

Why is play so important? First, the playful approach using music, results in attentiveness, and the loss of a critiquing mind that inhibits the child and his or her relational interactions.

Play uses the imagination, the ability to visualize future possibilities, and the implementation of those possibilities before they happen. At an elementary stage, with haunting “No Child Left Behind” standards, play is almost considered silly and a waste of time, I’m afraid. However, this ability at higher level high school academics is valued, only renamed “critical thinking”. This form of play, the ability to imagine the future and foresee it step by step, “critical thinking” is so highly esteemed that it is a skill tested and considered when looking at candidates for collage.

The ability to hear what comes next, to instantaneously perceive what has not yet come: “play” is renamed. The ability to interact without preparation or a script with another aids in helping to solve social issues, global issues, make the unattractive beautiful and sought after, and turn the uninteresting into something intriguing and thought provoking. The best part of this critical thinking is that it spontaneously involves from within. It evolves from the unstressed, enjoyable, innate curiosity. It is amazing to think this could evolve from the ability to hear the tune “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in one’s head and configure black and white rectangles in a sequence so the auditory result is “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” This is the importance of play, imagination, and critical thinking.

More examples will be in the next blog of how this process works.

Antoinette Morrison, MT-BC


Angie Kopshy

I love your post. We learn through repetition. And when we love what we’re doing, of course we want to repeat it, right? I was just watching this presentation by music therapist, Sally Bonkrude, about how music can play such an instrumental role in learning. The timing of your post is perfect.

Mary Lynn Bennett

I totally agree with this thinking. Play Is the most important ‘work’ of a child.

Laura C Zander Racic

Play is why I think Music Therapy opened so many *doors and made *lights(*connections) go off in my Autistic daughter’s head. Music has been the foot hold I have in advancing her, because to her it’s play!


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