I was reading a post on a parenting forum yesterday about encouraging children's imaginative development and there were some great ideas so I thought I'd share some with you.
Make sure that you spend time reading and sharing a variety of different books, stories and rhymes because the more ideas your child comes into contact with the more ideas they have to build on when creating their own stories. Ask questions when sharing stories; for example, why do you think that happened? how did he feel? what do you think will happen next?
Try to think imaginatively yourself when showing you child stories, use story sacks to develop story ideas. Gather props relating to stories for example puppets and games and use these to enact the stories. Make props such as wooden spoon puppets, playdoh food and cardboard box houses to help you.
For children who really struggle with writing / drawing / thinking imaginatively the Nonsenses puzzle. These puzzles encourage reading and building sentences; each card has a character, place or an action and by mixing the beginning, middle and end pieces you can have hours of fun as you try to compete to come up with the silliest sentences possible!
Make stories up co-operatively; depending on your child's drawing / writing ability there are several ways you can do it. The most simple way is to do it orally, you start a story and then take it turn to say a sentence or part of a sentence and see how silly it can get and how much detail you can put into it. If your child likes drawing you can make a story board by drawing squares on paper (start with just a few squares and then build up to longer ones as your child gets more confident) and taking it in turns to draw the next picture in the story. If you child struggles with drawing you could ask them to tell you what to draw and draw if for them. Lastly you can create stories by writing ideas down, take a strip of paper each and write down a character, fold it over and swap and add a location, fold and swap again and add an activity, fold and swap etc building up ideas and then open them out to see what has happened.
Draw random shapes / lines on a piece of paper and see what your child can make them become, for example a square could become a house, a circle could be made into a pig and a triangle could become the sail of a boat or the top of a rocket a wavy line could become the sea or turned into a caterpillar. This a great game for children who need to practice their fine motor and drawing skills too.
As with all learning activities the key is to keep it fun.