I want to know if anyone else has seen this. There is a difference in the way my kids play pretend when they're copying a book or something they watched. When they read a book, they follow the general storyline, but they break the rules. They add things or change something.
But when they pretend a movie they've seen, I hear a lot of "that's not what he said" or "no they did it THIS way" Unfortunately I also noticed that in school.
Kids are away from home for 7 hours. They had to read the books teacher gave, which, for the more advanced readers consisted of whatever uninspiring fluff was "at their reading level" because teacher is more concerned with the kids who still aren't reading, and do their homework and by the time they had dinner, burned off some energy, and cleaned their room, it was time to go to bed.
During all of this last year, my son had stopped playing. He still used his imagination, (I wanna build a space ship!) just not in the same way. The way that kids do when they can see fairies and pirates.
He still went outside and ran around, but it was more burning off energy. I hadn't noticed he had stopped until he started again. It's wonderful to watch!
My son is reading the Narnia books right now, so yesterday he and his little sister were running about the house and outside jumping into puddles and going to different worlds and coming back to tell me what they saw.
They brought me silver apples and the white witches wand (she's a good witch now, btw, who helps animals when they get hurt). And told me about adventures that didn't exist in CS Lewis's mind.
At one point my son asked if I could go into the wardrobe to Narnia and I said, "I can't. I'm a grown up." And he told me he wouldn't grow up and I wanted to read him "Peter Pan".
And it was one of those moments that we as mothers package up and store away in our minds and frequently unwrap and look at as our children grow. I know he'll only do it a few years more and I want to treasure it.
I think preserving our children's imaginations is so important and it needs to be taken more seriously. I get so tired of robot kids who can't think for themselves because I was one of them. The only solution I know of is to give them more "free time" (not scheduled 15 minute recesses) and good books. And then, as recently posted, stand back and watch. They know how to do the rest.