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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Imaginary worlds or paracosms, typically elaborated in middle childhood, were first described as uncommon make-believe fantasies, with no apparent impact on adult creativity outside the literary field. Subsequent research suggests that the invention of imaginary worlds, that is, worldplay, is more common than hitherto suspected and bears relevance to a range of endeavors across the arts and sciences. This chapter argues that the worldplay simulation of invented realities sheds light on the childhood development of imaginative skill and creative potential and its relationship to adult productivity. Blending play with problem-solving and fantasy with plausibility, worldplay serves as a self-choice "learning laboratory," wherein the child constructs personal knowledge that explores and frames play narrative. In some cases drawings, maps, and other artifacts represent and structure the make-believe; their production stimulates a sense of self as a creator. At its most complex, worldplay proves both a cognitive and aesthetic exercise relevant to life-long creativity.

Keywords: creative potential, creativity, imagination, narrative, paracosm, personal knowledge, play, problem-solving, self-choice learning, worldplay

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