The Importance of Magic and Make Believe from International Elf Service
Hello from International Elf Service … the Official North Pole Post Office and experts in Childhood Magic with a mission to support children’s learning and positive well-being through reading, imagination and play. We’re delighted to have partnered with the like-minded team at Play Makes Sense to share our belief in the importance of all things magical and make believe – please use code PLAY15 for 15% off your next purchase at internationalelfservice.com (creators of the world-leading and multi-award-winning Magical Advent Calendar and Christmas Elf letters).
There really is nothing better than reading to inspire your child’s imagination, boost their confidence, support their natural love of learning, and bring your whole family together. So we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite magical characters and our own unique and engaging storylines to show how Magic and Make Believe can be so important to a child’s personal development …
From the Desk of Father Christmas …
One of the most memorable moments of Childhood Magic is the first time you rush to your stocking on Christmas morning to find out what Father Christmas or Santa Claus has brought. Children’s eyes sparkle with amazement, and their imaginations run wild with wonder at how he knew their Christmas wishes, how he came down the chimney (or not! Did he use a special Keyhole Enlarging Spray?) and what he thought of the mince pies.
But this magical experience is so much more than the surprise gifts. It starts way before they hang up their stockings … when they write the first most important letter of their lives – their Letter to Father Christmas. Whether it’s a long explanation of their yearly news and questions about the North Pole, or a simple “Dear Santa” followed by a drawing of their Christmas wish and their name, it’s an enchanting way for them to express their dreams, get creative with their writing, and practise handwriting skills. Then, as they enjoy the grown-up responsibility of carefully addressing the envelope, or buying a stamp and taking their letter to the Post Office, they’re learning and practising essential life skills.
Overall, it’s a magical time that they’ll look forward to year after year. And, for the really lucky ones, their careful thought and creativity are reciprocated when they wake up one morning during the Christmas season to find (hidden mysteriously somewhere around their home) a letter from the Big Man Himself, just for them!
North Pole adventures with the Christmas Elves …
Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas (and Father Christmas definitely wouldn’t be ready for the Big Delivery on Christmas Eve) without the help of the North Pole Elves. And their many adventures, fantastic tales and updates from the Elves’ Workshop and the Mail Room, form some of the most engaging early reading material for young children. But, even better than their excitement for the stories, is the children’s enthusiasm to share what they’ve read with their siblings, parents and grandparents. Whether they read aloud to their family or share the moment by listening together, their literacy skills and vocabulary improve (a key stage in early learning), while strengthening their family bonds and making them feel safe and nurtured.
In fact, by enjoying Christmas and other similarly magical traditions as a family, parents are supporting their children in ways they may not realise …
Fairy tales can come true …
“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.” - J.M. Barrie Peter Pan
Believing in magic is much more than fantasy – it’s an important part of your child’s personal development. By putting their trust into an imaginary character, children are actually learning to develop confidence in themselves. And by making up dream worlds and fantastic situations in improvised play, they are working out ways to make their own beliefs a reality. Make believe is a practice for real life, and as parents and guardians, we should encourage these creative expressions as a way to open up conversations about our children’s real hopes and emotions. For example, if your child is struggling to understand or express their own feelings, they may be able to communicate them through creative play … imagine if they heard about a Tooth Fairy who had overcome problems at school or worries of feeling shy. By exploring this fictional character’s experience (through reading or playing at make believe), your child can start to trust their own ability to cope with normal ‘growing up’ issues and, as a result, boost their own self-esteem.
A wizard way to learn …
And if the North Pole and Fairyland aren’t enough to excite your young ones to read and develop their independent learning, you’ll surely remember when the Harry Potter craze encouraged millions of children to get reading. With this in mind, why not travel to the world of Wizards and Wonders? … a place where believers (as well as fantasy enthusiasts!) can find a huge collection of spellbinding short stories to spark their imaginations as well as give them vital skills for their futures. Personalised copies of magical documents, chronicles and articles from the wizardy realm of Roots of Fantastical Matters mysteriously appear in their home “as if by magic” and offer them inspiration for creative play and opportunities for make believe. But not only that, they’re packed with STREAM-based learning activities (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Maths) which are hidden within the stories. These optional upcycling activities point children towards experimenting, testing, deciphering, researching, building, creating and calculating ‘matters’ in the real world, without them even realising that they’re learning.
The magic of learning through magical places
All of us at International Elf Service truly believe in Childhood Magic … we’re passionate about making these believing years last as long as possible. We aim to support children’s well-being and healthy development in everything we do, and, as a result, inspire the magic of learning in every reader.