Where do children find ideas? From imagination or impression?
In the Playful Public Design (PPD) project, children were introduced to brainstorming by sharing aloud and sketching their ideas of a country park. As some of the children did not actually go to the site, they based their ideas mainly on imagination. For those who physically went, they drew from first-hand observation and impression, resulting in rich narratives and content.
The bar chart, with data from our PPD research, shows that more young children (aged 3.5 – 8) sketched according to their imagination, whereas older children (aged 8 – 18) sketched according to impression. Children’s shift of emphasis from imagination to impression could be interpreted as a change from self-centeredness (“me”-point of view) to others-centeredness (“we”-point of view) as their experience with the world grow. As children develop their thinking, imagination could be the bridge from what they “think” to what they “see”, and from fantasy to reality.