Looking back, I feel ashamed. What type of monster am I that I felt so much enjoyment and excitement out of such violence? They were innocent poor peasant farmers who had done nothing wrong. But, at the time, I didn’t care.

I was a dragon, and I brought the fury. 

Everyone knows that imagination-based play is a crucial element of childhood. It improves our children’s language development and their ability to process the outside world. Children can experiment with various approaches to problem-solving through play, and it’s a crucial element of growth and development

Because of this, there are a lot of good articles out there right now about how to foster imagination-based play for kids, but not as many about how to increase parents’ interest in it. 

Imaginary play is also a nice way to escape your troubles. I felt relaxed when I was pretending to be a dragon with my children. I no longer felt the weight of a million worries about bills, my job, or taxes on my mind. My only job was to destroy a village with my fiery dragon breath.

As an adult, it’s easy to play pretend but rarely does a parent actually believe that the carpet is flowing lava as you jump across couch cushions. Now we just walk through the motions of play rather than re-experience childhood wonder created by play.

Years of pretending to be an adult have drastically reduced my ability to pretend like a child.

But once you are in the land of make-believe, it is impossible to forget — the feeling is intoxicating. I’m not sure how it happened (possibly we binged on too many episodes of “Game of Thrones”), but one day I was playing with my four-year-old son when a switch flipped.

To continue reading the full article on by Jonathan Ferland, click here.

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