Cultivating Imagination ~ Fantasy Flutes


Sometimes, activities are spontaneously created by children themselves. Ventura’s New Parent Resource Center tells new mothers that children need nothing more than a piece of string to stimulate their imaginations and entertain themselves for hours. Travelling families, who live for months in foreign countries, often bring a soccer ball with them so their children can easily connect with locals using this international toy.

Charlotte & Everest, ages six and three, were playing on the beach this recent Thanksgiving. While exploring, each chose sticks for their Thanksgiving Day Parade and walked up and down the sand for hours playing their fantasy flutes. Once home, Charlotte asked to paint her “flute.” She painted the holes, then the flute itself, and has cntinued to play her “instrument.”

Imaginations are powerful and the more we allow our children to cultivate them, the more creative the outcome. I will let you know what happens when I give her a piece of string or we travel with a soccer ball.


piece of driftwood the size of a flute


paints or pens

water in cup + paintbrush

Set Up

I don’t normally make the recommendation that natural items be removed from outdoor places, however, the beaches in Ventura are littered with drifwood washed down the Ventura River channel to the ocean. Piles of sticks drift to the beaches, creating an over-abundance of wood piles. I know that an argument can be made for leaving them be, but I am, personally, okay with collecting a piece of local driftwood for this activity.

Teaching Directions

Allow children to wander the beach, or other natural area, in search of a stick the size of a flute. Show children how flutes, or recorders, are played, using their mouths to blow air and fingers to close holes and play notes. Use the sticks and imagine they are flutes. Allow children to pretend to play them and march around as if they are in a parade.


Bring the “flute” home and paint it, including holes for fingers, and colors to make the flute personal.


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