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My kids take pretend to a new level! - Page 2

post #21 of 36
Moved from Unschooling to The Childhood Years.

dar
post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post
I saw this on the new posts and was interested. My dd and her friends also take pretend play to the extreme and she is the only one who is homeschooled (and that only recently). I haven't been around kids who don't get extremely involved in pretend play and using props whenever they can. My dd and her friends love playing a wide variety of games including being animals, dragons, magicians, princes and princesses, family games, etc... Kids use their imaginations a lot whether they are in school or not. Learning at home gives them more unstructured time for this, but it doesn't mean that children who go to structured places to learn are zombies with no imagination.
Of course they aren't zombies with no imagination! I didn't mean that! However, there is no way you will convince me that the lengths they take it to would be allowed in public school. DD can go for days without breaking character, she would refuse to sit correctly in her chair or eat with a fork because puppies don't do that. She won't speak, other than to tell you that she's being a puppy to explain why she can't talk/color/participate in circle time etc. In school, she would HAVE to break character, that's the difference I'm a talking about. How long she can go without breaking character.
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Embee View Post
You have just described my son to a tee. For YEARS, he was *fully engaged* most of the time. He spent YEARS fully in character as a T-Rex (he was known to most around town as the kid with the tail, and I know exactly what you mean by being in TRUE dinosaur stance). Has also spent numerous time in other modes such as trains, various animals, Laura Ingalls (to name one--spent the better part of ages 4 - 6+ as a girl character), and more recently can be seen running about our yard as homo ergaster, a neadrathal, Bionicle or Animorph. I have participated in more than one thread around here through the years about kids who pretend as if their lives depend upon it.

I had similar concerns early on, about not connecting with kids at the playground say, or that DS was hiding behind his personas in order to ward off unwanted social contact, but I needn't worried at all because even if both of these things were true, DS was always being TRUE to himself. DS is not one to approach play in this way even when he's just being DS. He prefers to KNOW his playmates. His closest pals are those he knows through other families we know in the neighborhood, or in other areas of our lives. He likes playing with his cousins on holidays and VERY much likes playing with adults in our lives (aunts and uncles mostly) who have a mind to jump in play authentically. Attachment is very important to DS, and play is no exception. And on the rare occasion he does connect with someone "at random" it's usually a kid that will see what DS is doing, strike a dinosaur pose and roar right back... now THAT'S a kid DS can relate to. I have a feeling DS would LOVE playing with your kids, OP.

All that said, DS is now nine. He still spends an awful lot of time pretending and being in character, but it's not as all encompassing as it once was. He moves much more easily in and out of character now, and I can reach him without speaking in roars say, or as "Ma Ingalls." LOL I would NOT say he is more passive by any means, but the building and creating "things" which have always been part of his personality as well, are a bit more evenly balanced with the fully engaged pretending. And like many parents, I am nostalgic for those days when I walked about town with my little dinosaur. And while I remember there were those times I had a hard time appreciating it (like the time he started roaring and running through the library), I am now nostalgic for it. And like so many things parenting, if I could relive those years again, the one thing I would change would be those times I worried, or became concerned about what others were thinking, but to simply appreciate who DS was right then, and his ability to be himself no matter what. If only I could be so bold.

And yes, Mama. I believe there is a vibe about home/unschooled kids and pretend play, their ability to be the kids they truly are rather than be held to a social norm of kids who are forced to grow up too quickly. It's no surprise that DS's fav family on the block are also homeschoolers (they found us precisely because they had observed DS playing and wondered if we might be homeschoolers as well--LOL). DS gets along famously with their 13 year old, who might be 4 years older but has similar interests and delves deep into pretend play. It's refreshing, authentic and I'm grateful for it everyday.

The best,
Em
Thank you so much for that!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
My sister spent a few years insisting she was a dog named Ruffy. The most annoying dog ever, but that's another story. She went to public school. I was a pretty imaginative kid too, though less annoying about it I also went to public school for most of elementary school.

I think this level of imaginative play is normal in children of that age. I would be a little concerned if other kids don't want to play with them, though. Is it just a cliquey playground? At my playground most groups of kids are pretty open about letting other kids into their play. There's always a big cluck-clucking among the other mothers if there is exclusionary play and the bully child/children's parents don't do anything about it. Do they have a tough time making friends in general?
Well, its mostly the five year old. Another child approaches him and tries speaking human to him and he responds by roaring in their face and chasing them! Sometime he finds a rowdy group that loves it but a lot of kids don't dig it! And then I have to intervene.
post #24 of 36
My kid is very imaginative, and I'm glad. I think her pretend play is more involved and creative than some of her friends, but I don't think she's the weird one. Her daddy and I are both avid readers and have read to her forever, and I think that's where some creative ideas originate. I had a very active imagination as a child, and I went to public school. My daughter will be homeschooled, but I don't know how much that plays into it. I think it's the parent reaction that makes a bigger impact. We were allowed to steal the couch cushions and drape sheets over the chairs to build forts. I spent most of my time outside or reading rather than watching tv & being entertained by others. My dd plays independently frequently and I think that has encouraged her imagination. I hope when she's 5 or 6 that she continues to pretend as she does. Honestly, I hope she maintains her imagination much longer than that. It's a part of childhood I think should be fostered rather than stifled.
(wow, apparently I'm more passionate about pretending than I realized!)
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anglyn View Post
Of course they aren't zombies with no imagination! I didn't mean that! However, there is no way you will convince me that the lengths they take it to would be allowed in public school. DD can go for days without breaking character, she would refuse to sit correctly in her chair or eat with a fork because puppies don't do that. She won't speak, other than to tell you that she's being a puppy to explain why she can't talk/color/participate in circle time etc. In school, she would HAVE to break character, that's the difference I'm a talking about. How long she can go without breaking character.
I imagine that is because it can be just as detrimental for a child to refuse to break character for days at a time as it can for a child to never play pretend at all. Typically developing children don't typically play doggie for days at a time, refusing to break character at all. That rigidity is not a positive thing, nor creative. I'd be sad for my child if they couldn't differentiate when is play time and when is not. If it happened with frequency, I would probably have my child evaluated to see if he/she were on the autism spectrum, due to the rigidity of play, and inappropriateness of their play. A lot of times that is the difference in play between neurotypical children, and children with spectrum disorders- they aren't able to play appropriately, differentiate when it is appropriate and aren't able to stop the play.
post #26 of 36
Well, my kids are in school, and they these things.

I spent a lot of ds' kindergarten year "touring" the "fire station", which was really our bedroom. He'd carefully point out to me the various features of the firetruck (our bed), where all the equipment was and describe what it was for. We'd then tour their sleeping quarters (their bedroom) and their kitchen (our kitchen), and have to spring out of the way when the alarm went off.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anglyn View Post
Well, its mostly the five year old. Another child approaches him and tries speaking human to him and he responds by roaring in their face and chasing them! Sometime he finds a rowdy group that loves it but a lot of kids don't dig it! And then I have to intervene.
Oh mama, I remember the days! Your post rings so true for me! Honestly, it makes me feel better to know that other parents have been through it, that delicate balance between allowing them to be who they are, but wishing not to offend or upset others. On the other hand, when he happened to find other kids that would engage him in this way, he felt a connection and would play away. Hang in there. The roar-greeting did finally pass with my DS, somewhere between 6 and 7. Now if he is approached and isn't up for playing with others, he'll just say "No thank you, just doing my own thing today." For the time that roaring was his main language and I could see the other child was taken aback, I would sometime jump in and say something like, "That's 'HELLO' in T-Rex." Just sort of intervene playfully... it helped a lot.

The best,
Em
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
I imagine that is because it can be just as detrimental for a child to refuse to break character for days at a time as it can for a child to never play pretend at all. Typically developing children don't typically play doggie for days at a time, refusing to break character at all. That rigidity is not a positive thing, nor creative. I'd be sad for my child if they couldn't differentiate when is play time and when is not. If it happened with frequency, I would probably have my child evaluated to see if he/she were on the autism spectrum, due to the rigidity of play, and inappropriateness of their play. A lot of times that is the difference in play between neurotypical children, and children with spectrum disorders- they aren't able to play appropriately, differentiate when it is appropriate and aren't able to stop the play.
That's so interesting. I made an earlier comment about my sister being the most annoying dog ever. It seems she is on the spectrum, though so high functioning and so adept at pretending otherwise that you don't really notice. And that was her problem entirely: she had no idea how to play appropriately. She couldn't tell when it was time to turn it on and off. It hadn't even occurred to me that this was a sign of her larger issues.
post #29 of 36
My oldest would totally play with your kids, OP! Goodness, DD1 does the same things. When I was taking her to her new allergist (to find out if she was allergic to dogs, oh the irony LOL) DD1 insisted that I put shoes on her hands and feet and put a leash and collar on her. To my chagrin, the charade wasn't over once we arrived at the allergist's office. She walked on all fours across the parking lot, with me holding her leash. The receptionist got nothing but barks from her. When we went to meet the allergist, he held out his hand to shake DD's hand and DD LICKED HIS HAND!!!

On a side note, I was probably well into 5th grade before I stopped playing horse with my one good friend at recess. Yeah, others thought we were weird. Everyone else was practicing breakdancing (just dated myself, didn't I?) on the blacktop, playing basketball, or standing around talking while I ran around like a horse in the grass. Oh, well, I think I turned out pretty okay
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anglyn View Post
But then wow, I see them pretending to be dinosaurs and this is what strikes me (and Ive never seen any other kids do this): They get into and stick to the correct posture and movements, I mean the way they hold their bodies and the way they move, they LOOK like dinosaurs!! Just like the ones on the discover channel. They don't stand and move like kids at all when they do this! I mean the second they take the "Trex stance" you know exactly what they are suppose to be! Maybe it is weird to most people, but I'm rather impressed and amazed by it myself.

I just don't think it would have happened in any other setting than unschooling. Really.
I think you'd be surprised. This is totally normal, pretend play--including all of the postures, movements, faces, and sounds. My 3 yo does this, and he is not yet old enough to be "schooled". Yes, kids get into character! I don't think anyone would think it is weird, unless they are doing it in inappropriate settings.
post #31 of 36
It's awesome that your kids like doing this and that you're delighting in it, but... it's totally normal.
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
Moved from Unschooling to The Childhood Years.

dar
I think the reason this was posted originally in unschooling is so that us few unschoolers could discuss this without it turning into a schooled vs. unschooled issue.
post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anglyn View Post
Of course they aren't zombies with no imagination! I didn't mean that! However, there is no way you will convince me that the lengths they take it to would be allowed in public school. DD can go for days without breaking character, she would refuse to sit correctly in her chair or eat with a fork because puppies don't do that. She won't speak, other than to tell you that she's being a puppy to explain why she can't talk/color/participate in circle time etc. In school, she would HAVE to break character, that's the difference I'm a talking about. How long she can go without breaking character.
I don't think that having to get out of character sometimes in order to learn or eat dinner with a fork is a bad thing, whether you learn at home or at school. I also don't think that not breaking character for days at a time sounds like normal pretend play. Perhaps she just doesn't break her play because she doesn't have to, but what you are describing sounds like she just can't fathom breaking her play even to have a meal. Pretend play is an awesome thing, getting wrapped up in long sessions of pretend play that you return to in your free time day after day is also a good thing. I think all kids can benefit from a lot more time to participate in pretend play at home (and at school if they attend school), but it shouldn't be all a child does. As one person already stated it can also be a sign of autism if the child can't break out of the role they have decided to be in.
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anglyn View Post
Is it just me? Seriously, they pretend to be dogs, they lay in the floor, on their sides, legs our just like dogs REALLY do and they will wear "collars" and "leashes" if you don't watch them. They've gone as far as to sniff each others butts ok? When I served them bowls of water and bowls of dry cheerios at the table (where they will sit with legs drawn up under then and arms down on the chair, again, eerily like REAL dogs) my mother said that I "allow creativity". Ive seen my dd scratch behind her ear with her "hind leg".

Mostly I think this is a good thing, wow, in public school I'm sure other kids would consider it weird and it would be peer pressured out by now (ages six, five and three). Heck, sometimes I think it's a little weird, lol! Not that they do it, but that they do it A LOT and are so serious about it!! Of course dd has an animal obsession anyway along with one for biology and loves to play vet so maybe this is all just training?

So occasionally I think maybe they ARE weird, random kids at the playground tend to NOT want to play with them, and that makes me worry.

But then wow, I see them pretending to be dinosaurs and this is what strikes me (and Ive never seen any other kids do this): They get into and stick to the correct posture and movements, I mean the way they hold their bodies and the way they move, they LOOK like dinosaurs!! Just like the ones on the discover channel. They don't stand and move like kids at all when they do this! I mean the second they take the "Trex stance" you know exactly what they are suppose to be! Maybe it is weird to most people, but I'm rather impressed and amazed by it myself.

I just don't think it would have happened in any other setting than unschooling. Really.

What do you all think? Anyone else's kids take pretending to this extreme? Come on and tell me it's not just my kids, lol!!
My almost-three-year-old is right there with your kids. I think it's cute. It can get a little gross at time (think licking spilled yogurt off of the floor, like a puppy or stealing a few drinks from the dog's water bowl)...but mostly it's cute. She loves peeing while in the shower because she gets to lift up her leg and do it like our dog does She takes her shoes off, so she can scratch her face. She licks my face like a dog. She cries like a puppy and begs for food. Whatever, right? It's all good, mama

Edit: Fwiw, I don't think it has anything to do with schooled vs. unschooled. I remember acting like a dog--at school in the 1st or 2nd grade. I used to run around at recess barking like a dog and playing fetch with the other kids.
post #35 of 36
This article was on the Mothering homepage yesterday. I thought of this thread when I read it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post
I think the reason this was posted originally in unschooling is so that us few unschoolers could discuss this without it turning into a schooled vs. unschooled issue.
It wouldn't be about schooled vs. unschooled if the op hadn't suggested her dc's pretend play was unique to unschooling.
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by PreggieUBA2C View Post
I think the reason this was posted originally in unschooling is so that us few unschoolers could discuss this without it turning into a schooled vs. unschooled issue.
But OP made it about being a schooled v. unschooled thing? When posts like that are made, they generally get moved. It wasn't really a post about schooling, it was a post about a child imagining things and having trouble socially on the playground.

I thought it was really interesting to get a wider perspective. I learned some interesting things from posters who came on after the move.
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