Movement and imagination

by Jacqueline Harding. Getting little children up and moving and being inspired by their imagination works wonders for their development.

Girl smiling at butterfly on hand


There seems to be an almost magical link between imagination and physical movement. Once children see the point of moving around and are inspired to get those bodies jigging around, then there’s no stopping them!

Moving and using their imagination is great for your child’s personal, social and emotional development - e.g. it helps them to build confidence, self-esteem and independence.

It is also great on a creative level as they let their imagination run wild. But how can grown-ups get that imagination firing on all cylinders in the first place?

How CBeebies can help

Inspirational help is at hand in the form of CBeebies shows such as Small Potatoes (a band of four singing potatoes who travel the world making music and making friends).

Shows such as LazyTown are packed with action - it is almost impossible for young children to resist the opportunity to get up and move and groove along.

Why not go online and watch and listen to ‘Mimi's Ballet Class’, which is in the ‘Story Time’ section of the Poetry Pie pages. This fun poem about a dancing cow can be used as a springboard for games at home which involve both movement and imagination.

How to make a magic moment

Here’s a recipe for a magical movement moment:

  • Take one super-imaginative game - ‘Follow my Leader’ (can be played indoors or outdoors).
  • Add a sense of humour by showing your child funny ways you can move.
  • Encourage your child to imitate what are you doing – run fast, walk slow, gallop like a horse, shuffle along like an elephant, flap like a duck.
  • Take turns leading.
  • Use your imagination and encourage their imagination as you both think of more different and funny ways to move.
  • Rest and burst into laughter!

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Top tips

  • Act out a CBeebies theme song or show together. You could start with Rastamouse and take part in your own made-up musical adventures.  Try providing opportunities to use wheeled toys with pedals. Then suggest that they pretend to be a character from their favourite show - perhaps Postman Pat - and they are off to deliver letters. Give children lots of time and opportunities to repeat and practise actions. Copying actions such as 'Simon says' isolates body actions and uses children's love of mimicry.Why not watch an episode of Pinky Dinky Doo or watch a clip on the CBeebies website. Get your child to use Pinky's stories and games as a springboard to make up their own stories and games - and get moving!

Expert opinion

Moving, jumping, skipping, hopping, rolling and dancing - all inspired through imagination - is the perfect way to get children involved in daily exercise.

Jacqueline Harding, Child development expert

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