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Are Our Kids’ Imaginations Being Sucked Dry?

Are Our Kids’ Imaginations Being Sucked Dry?

An independent study of 500 mums across New Zealand commissioned by Sipahh has revealed a growing concern that kids’ imaginations aren’t being developed and used as often as they should. 64% of New Zealand mums believe kids today use their imagination less than they did were when they were young, and one in three mums surveyed would like their children to use their imaginations more actively.

A massive 95% of mums say they regularly encourage their kids to daydream, play and invent. 78% however believe their children’s creativity is being hampered by the countless ‘readymade’ entertainment options available, particularly modern technology like video games and ipods.

Dr Paul Jose, a Developmental Psychology Professor at the University of Melbourne, says children don’t invent games like they used to because they are being presented with multimillion dollar games that seem superior and more visually engaging than anything they might produce. However, he says this technology teaches a new kind of creativity that may not be readily understood or appreciated by parents; one that exercises their cognitive skills and imagination on a different plane to previous generations.

Also of interest, 49% of respondents felt schools could be doing more to teach and encourage creativity in the classroom.

“Institutions such as schools and even parents often insist that children and teens conform to norms or traditional ways of doing things, which undermine and prevent creativity”, says Dr Jose.

“The world often doesn’t have time for children to play and this pressure to be efficient kills the creative instinct.”

“An active imagination leads to greater creativity which leads to more effective problem solving. A creative child is more confident in interacting with their environment, enjoys better relationships with others and is more likely to have a “can-do” attitude.”

Many New Zealand mothers are mindful of preserving a healthy imagination in their kids because they have lost their own ability to think beyond norms as they have grown older. 72% of respondents said they’ve become less creative as adults with 50% blaming “no time” as the number one factor (50%). Stress (46%), peer pressure to act more like an adult (27%) and technology (27%) were also cited as major reasons creative development is often stifled.

Sipahh commissioned the survey and partnered with Dr Jose in order to investigate the benefits of healthy imaginations in kids and encourage them to dream up solutions to the improbable or even the impossible. The Sipahh product, a unique milk-flavouring straw, was a direct product of child-like imaginative thinking. It’s inventor, Peter Baron, reflected on his days of drinking milk as a kid to develop a twist on the traditional straw, an idea that was included in influential British newspaper’s “50 Great Ideas For The 21st Century”.

Advice and exercises for mums looking to get their kids off the couch and into a creative space will soon be available on the Sipahh website at

Plans are also being developed to create a national competition to find and reward the most imaginative young minds in NZ. They will be the first awards program to recognise the importance of imagination by giving them the freedom to create across a number of categories such as music, art and sports. So what can parents do to encourage an active imagination in their kids’ day-to-day lives? Dr Jose gives the following recommendations…

1) Be a role model by suggesting to your child the various improbable ways they could tackle a situation

2) Give them time to play around with possibilities. Avoid dismissive statements like “that would never work” and don’t rush to suggest a practical solution

3) Give them props, toys, tools, etc. to enable them to ‘think with their hands”. Sit down with them and draw/illustrate the situation and then invite them to draw their guess as to “what comes next”

4) Go out of your way to talk about famous creative people like Da Vinci and hold them up as worthy role models

5) Get them to think up silly inventions, like a submarine made of rubber, which exercises creativity because they have to think of something that won’t work, which is a short step from coming up with something no one has thought of before.


Company Bac kgro under

It all began with a simple question: Why is flavoured milk three times the price of regular milk and why is it so sweet?

It was this question that led Peter Baron, Winner of an Australian Design Award and a Council Member of the Australian Design Institute, to imagine the ultimate solution – the concept of the Sipahh Straw. His invention continued to use milk as its foundation but was fun, exciting and came in a wide variety of yummy flavours.

In 1997, the first prototype of what would become the Unistraw™ Delivery System was assembled and after many years of tweaking the model to perfection, Peter filled an order of 60,000 hand-made Sipahh™ units for a 6-month trial in the United States.

In 2004 Unistraw was established - an Australian based corporation with a worldwide vision. Today, Unistraw attracts the finest professionals from a wide range of areas to drive and manage a 21st century approach to beverage consumption.

After being awarded “Best New Product” at the 2005 Fine Food Australia Show in Sydney and official selection to the TASTE_05 innovation and trend showcase at Anuga - the world’s largest food and beverage trade show held in Germany - Sipahh Milk Flavouring Straws were launched in key grocery stores and schools throughout Australia.

Sipahh went on to win Sweetie 2006: Product of the Show at ISM, the world’s largest confectionary and biscuits trade show (Germany) and the prestigious Retailers Choice Award at the FMI Show 2006, the largest cuisine and beverage show in North America (USA).

The unique Unistraw™ Delivery System (UDS) gives the brand the potential to branch out across several product categories including water and pharmaceuticals. Plans for upcoming development into these areas are already underway, and it is believed Unistraw’s exclusive technology has the potential to radically sway the future of global beverage consumption.

Sipahh® is the registered trademark of Unistraw® Asset Holdings Pty Ltd.

© Scoop Media

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