All the times you read Goodnight Moon or Where the Wild Things Are, all those hours you and your children spent together with Winnie the Pooh and Charlie and his chocolate factory–were they worth it? Books are very important to the development of a child because it not only helps them in school, but it also makes it easier for them to understand new subject matter. But that’s not the only reason to make a big deal out of books. Reading to our children–and encouraging them to read on their own–stimulates imaginative play. Often parents today think that if they give their children too much free time they are wasting opportunities for learning and preparing children for their futures. But these types of parental choices, though done with love and the best of intentions, are not a gift to children. Children today desperately need time and space to develop their creative imaginations free from adult agendas. Even if your children complain, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” please, please, please trust that if you force them to figure out for themselves how to fill their time, their innate creativity will kick in and their imaginations will soar!