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Toddlers and imagination/fantasy play

(41 Posts)
Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 19:27:26

I am curious, how many of your toddlers have big imaginations or do fantasy play? My daughter is 2 years and 9 months. She seems to have a big imagination...okay I might have helped it a bit by reading princess books, gruffalo book, etc. Plus allowing her to watch some cartoons while her baby brother naps...and bc she refuses to nap now, but clearly needs some rest time after lunch (as do I). Anyway, her teachers mention she talks about the graffalo at school, ghost (she watched a halloween cartoon w a friendly ghost), bumble bees (i assume bc watched the hive cartoon). Anyway, I am just curious about how often others find their children talking about imaginary things.

Also, how many hours a day do your kids watch tv? I feel bad to say, we def have at least two hours a day (spread out a little in morning, mid day and in evening). I do feel guilty about it...but I am finding it difficult to keep her occupied all day long when she no longer naps, in addition she has a younger brother. She goes to nursery part time, we go to the park once or twice a day (as long as its not raining). When its raining we go to our gym for some soft play, or to run around in door tennis courts. She does ballet once a week and we do art/crafts once a day (its w me and consists of either painting, cutting paper (her new favourite thing to do w child safe scissors), stringing noodles on strings, drawing w markers, putting stickers on paper, sticking cut outs on paper). Once a week we also go into a drop in center. I read her at least 5 books a day, sing to her at least 5-10 songs before bed. In addition, she does play w her brother...and yes i also read and sing to her brother...although not quite as much bc he goes to bed a little earlier and easier. Anyway, how else do you fill the day and occupy the keen to cut down cartoons to just one hour a day. But I also need her to be occupied while i cook, tidy house etc. She also does puzzles once in a while. Oh and we dance together in kitchen as well...bath time is play time as well...bath crayons plus bath toys.

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 19:28:55

oh and the reason I am bringing this bc the school wants me to try and help tone down her fantasy talk... sad I didnt think it was a problem, until they mentioned it

DomesticGoddess31 Mon 24-Nov-14 19:46:29

She sounds lovely, and your typical day sounds like mine. (I have 3.4 dd and 7mth DS). TV is often watched in our house too and I also have the guilts but it is what it is! I think your dd's school are bonkers. Surely a small child with a vivid imagination should be encouraged?!? My dd's Montessori preschool actively encourage imaginative play with the activities and toys they have set up for them.

squizita Mon 24-Nov-14 20:47:35

Toning it down wouldn't be very good for her literacy and emotional development: that talk from a child her age is completely normal (I've always worked with kids, she sounds fine ... everything from Peppa to Frozen crops up).
The school sounds odd - is this a teacher or TA who has said this? I would raise it with management and ask for a 2nd opinion.

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 20:47:44

Really? My DD goes to montessori, and it seems like the do not like fantasy no disney characters, pretend characters etc. They like imaginative play...but has to be real life scenerio. So like house play, pretend to cook. But no pretend to be a fairy princess, no pretend you can fly, no unicorns etc. But my daughter loves fantasy play as well. I guess they worry she is too young and might not understand it is pretend? We think she understands, but will not take care to remind her what is fantasy and play.

I guess, its people that have two young kids close in age that tend to have more tv watching...I am not sure how else to cope with a 13 month old and an almost three year old! But I guess, the 20 month age gap will pay off more when they a little older and can play a little more together! I do feel guilty about the cartoon watching still...ah well. I guess I will have to try and not worry so much...and perhaps think of a few more ideas of play at home stuff...that can keep her occupied a little while i cook or tidy. Besides the good old ipad!

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 20:49:55

And squizita, I thought it was good and she was very imaginative, creative etc...I thought it was a positive thing, until her school spoke to me today! It was her two teachers! I got worried, although I tend to worry and over think things a lot when it comes to my kids. I did read an article on baby centre saying it is normal and good for toddlers to have imaginative/fantasy play. So now, Im feeling a little better.

ThinkIveBeenHacked Mon 24-Nov-14 20:54:36

My Dd is 2.11 and has an exceptionally vivid imagination. She could make up a scenario with just a piece of string (she has actual toys!). She even has a soft toy animal and does his voice, calling me Hacked when she is being teddy and Mum when she is being dd.

She doesnt nap either, and watches LOTS of tv/films. Her vocabulary is amazing and her memory is spot on.

Im all for imaginative play, surely the school should just be happy she has a vivid imagination rather than trying to quash it.

ThisFenceIsComfy Mon 24-Nov-14 20:55:27

My DS acts out cartoons with his toys. So if he watches Chugging ton, then he goes to his train set and uses the trains to act out the episode. He went through a phase of being Little Charley Bear.

Do his teachers not like the TV references? Maybe they want her to create her own characters? Or do they just hate fictional characters in general? Seems utterly bizarre either way. I love my DS's imagination.

squizita Mon 24-Nov-14 20:56:04

This sounds very odd. Culturally and psychologically fantasty play is normal... Every culture has fairytales for children, fairies, dragons, ogres etc. It is actually ok for them to escape reality a bit at that age too! Let tiny kids believe in fairies etc.
I can understand not letting it get commercial (eg kids going on about having the right pre made Disney costume) or repetitive (eg repeating the plot from a movie not making up their own stories) but using well known characters in imaginative play is totally healthy and normal!

Role playing 'work' scenarios fulfils a different development need. Children should be able to explore both.
TBH if a nursery or school tried that with my daughter I'd pull her out but then again I teach performing arts and creative writing so imagination is my bread and butter.

squizita Mon 24-Nov-14 20:58:26

This is going to sound snobby but ate they both trained, experienced teachers? Nurseries often have 1 teacher and other staff with various levels of experience, who sometimes haven't been trained on child development to that extent.

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:12:49

The school is really good and I am happy with them. This is the only thing i do not really agree on. I thought it was the Montessori way, teaching only real life. But maybe it's just this nursery? They mentioned before not to introduce pretend characters, such as unicorns and only have real animals in books or cartoons like pigs, horses etc. they were like so no disney! I didn't listen to them, because I grew up w that stuff. But, now they are monitoring her because of her fantasy talk about the bumble bee, graffalo etc. this is partially my fault, for pretending along w her about the bumble bee. They made me feel like it was a problem. But after look online and reading your responses, I don't feel like it's a problem. My only concern is to just make sure my daughter understands what is pretend/fantasy and what is real. I am pretty sure she does understand, but I will just take extra care to remind her just in case.

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:17:08

Another example they pointed out...they were concerned bc she told them she was going to fly home. But they said "no, you are going to walk home!" But my dad insisted she would fly home. I think this is bc sometimes her dad helps her "fly" by carrying her in flying motion while she flaps her "wings." This is part of her pretend play. And the reason I think she was insisting she would fly home is bc they were telling her she would not. She does not like if someone tells her no. She she will insist sometimes. But they were concerned she thought she was really going to fly home!

EmbarrassedPossessed Mon 24-Nov-14 21:23:36

I would not want the nursery workers to try and squash my child's imagination like this. Imo it's wrong to do so. Children at this age often mix reality and fantasy and it's perfectly normal. I can't imagine why they would want to "correct" her when she said she was going to fly home! It's actually verging on mean to do so, I think.

BertieBotts Mon 24-Nov-14 21:27:46

If that is the Montessori way then I'd be looking for another nursery ASAP!

Please don't let them squash this in her sad I liked Montessori when I was looking at it but thinking about it yes it is quite science based and one point that somebody made to me was that e.g. they don't like children to use things for their non intended purpose, like using jigsaw pieces as a road. It would have suited DS, because his imagination has never been that active anyway, but a total shame to squash that imagination in a child who has it.

At 2y9m she will be coming up to being accepted by preschools this coming term. I'd seriously look at moving her to a less idealogical based setting.

Expedititition Mon 24-Nov-14 21:30:56

So she is at nursery not school? So it's probably not a teacher that had told you this?

Perhaps they would like her to tone down her Disney/specific character talk? I know some children who can't think about anything but Disney so are actually not using their imaginations at all. I'm not saying they shouldn't but maybe this is what that mean.

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:35:53

I was quite surprised when they mentioned before about not introducing disney or pretend animals like unicorns. I didn't really listen bc I didn't agree. We are applying for her to go to Catholic school. I am hoping she gets in nursery. She would not start until next year sept. She is happy at the school and I was liking it, until today when they mentioned my daughters fantasy talk. Argh.

dreamcometrue Mon 24-Nov-14 21:41:10

Ds is 2.2 he is constantly imagining things! We encourage it, can't imagine somewhere squashing that. Surely it's a normal part of being a toddler?

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:43:16

Expedition, my daughter is only two, so no school yet. It's nursery. But they call it Montessori school. They didn't mention her talking about disney specific characters. They said she talks about the graffalo, bumble bees, mentioned a ghost, and flying home. My daughter is quite bright, w a great vocabulary. A few weeks ago, they were just telling me how bright she is, amazing language skills etc. today's they said this fantasy talk has just started cropping up last two weeks, so they are monitoring it. I'm not sure why they don't want her doing this. They made me feel like it was something wrong. Like they have to monitor her and write down her fantasy talk! I thought it was cute, bc she does talk about the bumble bee and graffalo at home as well. But we are partially to blame bc we have fed into the bumble bee and graffalo talk...but we felt she understood it is just pretend. I sure hope she does! I have started reminding her it's pretend. I mean she has told me before a few times there is no such thing as a graffalo.

Mamabear12 Mon 24-Nov-14 21:44:57

And I am glad to hear, that there are other toddlers, w fantasy talk and imaginative play! Makes me feel better.

NotCitrus Mon 24-Nov-14 21:48:22

Sounds bonkers to me - why is it wrong to say she's going to fly home, compared to say she is a dinosaur or going to be an aardvark when she grows up? Surely it's all part of learning to figure out fantasy, reality, and to what extent they can control people around them - they may be able to get everyone to agree they are a ninjas turtle but will have to pretend their lunch is pizza.
I've only heard concerns from people when children aren't doing pretend play at that age - ds didn't until nearly 4 though he would replicate Octonauts scenarios and insist on being called Kwazii for about a year earlier. Dd was pretending to do adult things from the time she turned 2.

Gawjushun Mon 24-Nov-14 21:52:52

That's so odd. My DS is the same age and always nattering on about the gruffalo and other book characters, as well as making up strange little stories. His nursery have had only positive things to say and have been really encouraging, doing things like getting his favourite gruffalo puzzle out for him when he arrives, or playing with thomas toys and singing the theme song with him. It's cute.

Your DD sounds perfectly normal and bright for her age, and I'm sure there's nothing to worry about. Moving to a different preschool might suit her better.

Randomcafe Mon 24-Nov-14 22:03:23

The nursery sound bonkers and don't let their ridiculous comments knock your confidence about how you are bringing up your children. It sounds like you do an amazing variety of things to entertain her! My twin toddler girls love imaginative play and I love watching them, that is until they start fighting about who gets to be the giant and who is the naughty witch!

Stitchosaurus Mon 24-Nov-14 22:08:19

My child wouldn't have anything left to talk about without all his fantasy play! I would also be planning on taking her out if they make a big deal out this, seems an insane reaction to normal child's play - and bloody miserable to boot!

LittleBearPad Mon 24-Nov-14 22:13:01

The nursery sounds odd. What's wrong with imagination. And if your DF carries her then she does 'fly home'. I think she sounds lovely. My dd (2.6) creates zoos and cars and shops and her toy animals all take part and acts them all out. Her toy cat is also very real to her. I wouldn't want this squashed out.

plantsitter Mon 24-Nov-14 22:24:17

I thought imagination and intelligence had been strongly linked?

I would change nurseries before they squash her personality. She sounds ace and they sound joyless.

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