What is it? The ability to generate ideas of what to do in novel situations or conceiving play ideas when presented with unfamiliar toys or objects (Case-Smith & O’Brien, 2015, p. 272).
Why is it important? Children who have difficulty with ideation may have difficulty with creating motor plans or navigating their environment with purpose, therefore may wander around aimlessly (Case-Smith & O’Brien, 2015, p. 272). Ideation is a skill necessary for occupations across the lifetime, such as:
Activities of daily living (functional mobility, dressing, grooming)
Play and leisure activities (pretend play)
Academic performance (interacting with peers, participating in play, crafts)
5 activities to try at home:
1. Asking “What if…?” questions.
Tip: Present various silly scenarios and see how your child responds!
2. Presenting the child with a “design challenge”.
Tip: For example, ask the child to create something tall and see what they come up with!
3. Play a game they enjoy, but ask them to change one thing about it.
Tip: For example, play tag but change one rule (i.e. each time someone gets tagged they have to act like an animal when they are chasing others [hopping like a frog]).
4. Creating their own craft.
Tip: Provide the child with various materials and ask them to create something with them!
5. Adding a new component to a preferred toy.
Tip: For example, if your child prefers playing with play-doh, introduce a new toy with it such as dinosaurs or figurines to facilitate pretend play (i.e. making play-doh beds for dinosaurs to sleep in, etc.).
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(Suppl. 1), S1-S48.
Case-Smith, J., & O’Brien, J. (2015). Occupational therapy for children and adolescents (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Mosby, Inc.