What is an imaginary world? 

Imaginary Worlds are make-believe places where make-believe beings go about the business of daily life in playful ways.

 

What is worldplay?

It’s a way of playing, with firm grasp of the difference between what’s imagined and what’s real.

 

Why are you so interested in imaginary friends and imaginary worlds?

Over the past decades there has been a decline in children’s freedom to play. At the same time we’re learning that play is a biological function hardwired into us that’s as important as eating or sleeping. The bottom line is, we need to play to be healthy and happy human beings. 

Worldplay, or imaginary world invention is important because children make their own play, rather than consume the play made for them by others. They grow a sense of self as an independent thinker, an inventor of ideas and things. They learn to posit alternate realities and to construct speculative knowledge of value to the real world. That kind of learning is imagination exercise for adulthood. 

And some people may go on to putting their early imaginative work outs to creative and innovative use across arts (movie directors, screenwriters, novelists, painters etc…) and sciences (programmers, engineers, conservationists, physicists etc…) Inventing imaginary worlds in childhood helps lay the groundwork for an innovative society.

 

How many people have imaginary friends or imaginary worlds?

It may be a well-kept secret, but the fact is that some 65% of children in the U.S., have imaginary friends (including Calvin, of  “Calvin and Hobbes”). In the UK, 46% have imaginary friends and in Japan 10%.About 12% or more of children take their play even further and create entire imaginary worlds with their own unique cultures, languages, artwork, and inventions. Some notable worldplayers include writers such as the Brontë siblings, J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis, artist-sculptor Claes Oldenburg, and zoologist-artist Desmond Morris.