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#1 of 36 Old 02-20-2010, 04:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!!

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#2 of 36 Old 02-20-2010, 04:23 AM
 
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Well, It's not just your kids, my 3 y/o would actually play with your kids hehe..and she's not that social. She pretends she is a dog A LOT. She begs me to "make me sit" "give me a pretend dog treat please" as she sits, or lays down to my command It's pretty freeking embarassing when dh has a friend over, and Kailey gives me a toy and says "throw it so we can play fetch!" People think we make her do this stuff!!! During potty training, she would poop outside, like a dog and when we would tell her "no hunny, you need to go poo poo in the potty" she said she was pretending to be a dog. Her exact words were "dont' worry silly, I was just pretending to be ladybug" It was flustrating. Anyway, I don't see anything wrong with it, since I live with it

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#3 of 36 Old 02-20-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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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 oldest was a t-rex for a long time. (He'd hunch over, stick his neck out, bend his knees, hold his front "claws" just so and mimic the gait he'd seen on tv.) Some people thought it was cool, others thought it was weird.

My youngest did the puppy thing like yours do and he got his cousins to join in.

Superman was also a popular role.

I think it's great imaginative play, and totally support it.

I do think that this play gets squelched with peer pressure, though--I found that kids who went to school were happy to join in the play in private, but not in the yard or out in public. My boys were uninhibited with this stuff for far longer.

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#4 of 36 Old 02-20-2010, 10:54 AM
 
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Your kids would fit right in with mine! We meet with a few other families on Thursdays to let our kids play, etc. ALL the kids...ages 4 to 12...played the dog game for a couple of hours! There were mean dogs, chasing little ones and biting at their tails; there were hungry dogs, always begging for food (rocks the kids were putting in bowls), yippy dogs, growling dogs. The kids had a blast. When we got home, my dd1 still insisted she was a little dog, and curled up next to our real dog so he could lick her ears to groom her!

I think it's fine. And I would totally love to see your kid's cool T-rex movements!

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#5 of 36 Old 02-20-2010, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was thinking they are stuck on this, but actually the boys learned the dog game from dd and she learned the trex one from ds2 so they DO broaden their horizons!

Man, wish you guys lived HERE!! We still haven't found a good hs or us group that we fit into well.

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#6 of 36 Old 02-20-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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They'd get along famously here too. Just yesterday I had to tell my 6yo to take the leash off her 2yo sister already...................... lol We regularly have puppies, butterflies, bumblebees, etc in this house. In fact, right now I'm kinda shocked that I don't have any animals at the table eating their lunches................ lol

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#7 of 36 Old 02-20-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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My kids love the animal games too. My almost four year old is way less inhibited than most I've met. Today my oldest was pretending to be a skateboard for his little brother to ride. That's weird even for my kids

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#8 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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Yup, another with a house full of random animals.

Our children have never been inhibited in their pretend and have never even considered that nobody else doesit, or very few. When we go to the playground, other children join right in, and I think it may be because my dc are completely into it, and there are four of them, so it seems like it's just what 'everyone's doing'.

One of our boys didn't allow us to call him by name for two years. He insisted everytime we used his name that we call him whatever his anumal name was at that time- cheetah, tyrannosaurus rex, gorilla, hyena, lion, etc.... The cheetah went on for months without end. He ate, slept, played and chirped as a preface to his speech, all day, every day.

The others have all done this, but they have taken breaks after a day or week and allowed themselves to return for a short time at least, but not ds3. Two whole years.

They've been incorporating into their repertoires human characters and mythological figures as well.

I love it. I think it's awesome. Dp is an adult and he can get right into that every now and then.

Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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#9 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 07:13 AM
 
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My DD is 6 and loves to be a cat. She's been into cats ever since I remember and can move like a cat. She can cover a lot of ground while crawling as a cat. Sometimes she wears a "tail" when we go out. She has the moves down exactly. She washes her face and arms. The one that bugs me the most is when she wants to crawl across the back of our couch. Then the "cat" has to get down. She also sniffs me and DH and our dogs. (Thankfully she doesn't sniff bums, but that's more of a dog thing.)

She used to hiss at us when she was angry but we've convinced her to use words now. And she does some cat characters - Opera Cat (which is actually pretty funny - and no, she's never seen Adam Sandler's "Opera Man" character).

DH and I are not even into cats - I'm allergic to them and we both prefer dogs. But we've gotten used to living with DD as a cat. When she plays with other kids, she usually has to adapt since not everyone usually wants to play cats.

So she has been a Star Wars cat, a robot cat, a ghost cat, spy cat, etc. Most of her friends are boys. DD would actually like to just play regular kitties with some other girls. Or Warrior Cats. She's very into those books right now.

We do have her in homeschool drama classes. She usually does cat stuff there too, but she's also been other things. I used to think with her the cat stuff was a phase, but now I think it will just morph as she gets older.

We know another little girl in her that is a usually being a dog.

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#10 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh yeah! I forgot about the six months she dressed as a cat, lol! Black body suit, tail, ears, collar!! She also does the back of the couch and up on the table thing, I told her no, she said but I'm a cat and I said we don't allow the cats to do that in this house, to which she replied, "But I'm that sneaky". They also play "zoo", "vet"and "mom". They find it really hilarious to pretend to be each other as well. Of course, none of those games go on for days or weeks at a time like being a dog, cat or trex does. Ok, sometimes they are raptors instead and once my five year old was a pterandon for a week.

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#11 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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Totally normal children's pretend play. So glad that they have an opportunity to play it out to it's fullest extent.

Then there are the adults..

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#12 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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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

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#13 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 07:46 PM
 
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Wait. You mean......not every kid does this?

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#14 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 08:30 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 09:22 PM
 
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Aw, how cute!

It's not a homeschooling/unschooling thing though. We are unschoolers/homeschoolers and while my kids do this, it's typical of every child, including public schooled children. In fact, the absence of pretend play is qualification for therapy. My oldest daughter did not have pretend play (she is Autistic) and received therapy for that (among other things). We have to actually teach her how to pretend play. Pretend play, even in extremes, is just part of being a kid, not part of being an unschooler.

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#16 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 09:27 PM
 
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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?

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#17 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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Wait. You mean......not every kid does this?
I'm sure there are some that don't, but it's a normal way that children explore their environment and the world, learn self control and empathy. I wouldn't really call what OP's children do taking it to a "new level," though. It sounds pretty normal to me.

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#18 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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My oldest is in 3rd grade at public school. Her group of friends (girls and boys) play puppies and kittens at lunch. Daily. For three years now. And when they don't want to play puppies and kittens, they go on archeological digs, where they dig with sticks at the edge of the playground to uncover artifacts (ie rocks and shale). Or they investigate and hunt tracks. My dd also has a friend who insists she is a puppy, has since kindy. She has plenty of friends, and they all indulge her, pet her and call her good puppy when she comes up and licks them, lol.
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#19 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 10:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lach View Post
I'm sure there are some that don't, but it's a normal way that children explore their environment and the world, learn self control and empathy. I wouldn't really call what OP's children do taking it to a "new level," though. It sounds pretty normal to me.
I was being sarcastic.

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#20 of 36 Old 02-21-2010, 11:08 PM
 
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I was being sarcastic.
I know, I was agreeing with you.

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#21 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 12:16 AM
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#22 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 03:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#23 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 03:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!!

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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.

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#24 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 03:29 AM
 
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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!)

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#25 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 09:07 AM
 
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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.
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#26 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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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.

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#27 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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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.

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#28 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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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.

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#29 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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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

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#30 of 36 Old 02-22-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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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.
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