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Something in my pocket

To encourage the children to embrace their imagination.

by Helen Redfern

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To encourage the children to embrace their imagination.

Preparation and materials

No materials are required.


  1. Having a vivid imagination can be a wonderful thing. For a young child, a cardboard box can be a rocket zooming up into outer space; a tent can be a princess’s castle; a stick can be a pirate’s sword …

    But talk to most grown-ups and you will discover that they have forgotten how to use their imagination. The cardboard box takes up too much room and needs to go for recycling; the tent is just for camping trips and needs to go back in the loft; the stick is dirty and should be left outside for the dog …

    Just listen to this story and you will see what I mean.
  2. Something in my pocket

    Jack’s mum had lost her car keys and was frantically searching everywhere for them. She needed to take Jack to the Breakfast Club before she went to work. He knew that she hated being late, so he concentrated hard on zipping up his coat and kept quiet.

    Suddenly, his mum turned her attention to him. ‘Jack, are you sure you haven’t seen my keys today?’

    ‘No, Mum, I really don’t know where they are.’ He wished with all his heart that he did know.

    She caught sight of his bulging coat pockets. ‘Jack, turn out your pockets just to make sure.’ Jack was reluctant to do as she asked. ‘Come on, Jack, we haven’t got all day.’

    Slowly, he pushed one hand into each pocket and pulled out a handful of items. He lay them out carefully on the table in front of his mum. There were no house keys and the apparent mess before her seemed to make his mum even more stressed.

    ‘What a load of rubbish! What are you carrying all that around for?’

    Rubbish? How could she say that? Could she not see that those fruit pips were magic seeds which would grow into an enormous beanstalk? Did she not realize that the smooth pebbles were moon rock that Jack had brought back from his last visit to the moon? Would she never understand that the penny was pirate gold that he had found buried on a desert island?

    He did not want to throw his treasures away. Who knows when he would need that piece of string, that nail or that strip of cloth? When his mum turned away to search again for her keys, he carefully returned all his precious items safely to his pockets. He smiled. Now he was ready for anything.
  3. I wonder where Jack’s mum found her keys. I wonder if she was late for work. But most of all, I wonder what Jack did with the string, the nail and the piece of cloth. What a shame that grown-ups find it so hard to use their imagination.

    Some of you probably have special treasures in your pockets right now. You love using your imagination to make up whole new worlds. But some of you are probably thinking that you have already grown out of all this make-believe, that it’s just for little kids. What a shame!
  4. In the film Bridge to Terabithia, Jesse feels the same way. His life is rooted in reality – in his daily chores, in not having enough money for new trainers, in his desire to be the best runner in the school. He has a talent for drawing but he keeps it secret, as if he is embarrassed by his imagination.

    Until Lesley comes to live next door, that is. She introduces him to Terabithia, a world where squirrels are monsters, pine cones are grenades and he is the king. He comes to learn that everyday life is enriched when we use our imagination. Imagination is not just for kids.

Time for reflection

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’

Do you know who said that? Albert Einstein, one of the cleverest men who ever lived! He also said:

‘For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.’

Put more simply, all that we already know about is knowledge; but all that there is still to be discovered and created is within the imagination.

So do not be ashamed of using your imagination.

Do not forget how to use your imagination.

Do not grow out of using your imagination.

Do not tease others for using their imagination.

And keep something in your pocket at all times to remind you of the gift of imagination.


‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: June 2009   (Vol.11 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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