I was recently at Cape Cod on a family vacation. Apart from my three year old catching Pink Eye it was an extremely enjoyable and relaxing experience. One of the best things about going on vacation is the opportunity to spend quality time with the family, more importantly the little ones. Lucas, my three-year old terror, can be a handful, but his imagination is something I cherish dearly, and helped turn a simple bike ride into an adventure with a Gruffalo, fairies, a magical wood, dinosaur bones, and a scary forest.

My brother-in-law was kind enough to offer his bike that comes with a little seat for Lucas to sit on. The two of us, bursting with excitement, embarked on our journey around a little beachside community in Mashpee. As we travelled down a path we eventually came to some woodland. At first Lucas was a little scared, calling it a scary forest that has scary skeletons in, but I decided to challenge his imagination to go beyond this current obsession, and come up with other things that might live in the scary forest. To my delight, as its my favorite picture book, he decided that we were in the deep dark wood were the Gruffalo lives, well not just one, lots of them. They were popping up all over the place and poor Daddy had to peddle really quickly to get away from them. After my legs began to burn I needed a change in the adventure’s setting, and with a little bit of encouragement we eventually crossed over into a magical forest with fairies and dinosaur bones in the form of broken branches on trees. I was particularly happy with the fairies as they cast dancing spells on the Gruffalos, which meant I didn’t have to peddle away every time we saw one, also the fairies froze the scary skeletons in their domain so Lucas didn’t have to fear them as much.

On our way back our creative efforts turned away from our adventure and toward the arts with some make up sing-along songs. Obviously it started with a song about Scary Skeletons, but soon we were singing songs about bones, and dancing princess skeletons (they got back in there at the end). It turned into a fantastic bike ride that would compete with an afternoon at Disney’s Magical Kingdom, more importantly, and to the reason why I’m writing this article, simple leading questions from Daddy provided a wonderful opportunity to nurture the imagination and curiosity of my little pal.

Matthew Worwood
Matthew Worwood is a husband and proud father to three young boys. Professionally, he works as a professor of Digital Media Design at the University of Connecticut. Matthew's research explores creativity inside design thinking. He examines this connection from an educational perspective that includes its impact on the design and use of digital media products for learning.

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