What is Fantasy?

Fantasy is anything that is not based on reality. At a young age, giving the child real experiences until they reach an age to distinguish fantasy. TV and great fairy tales or fantasy stories with beautiful illustrations and great quality paper, but they can be introduced after the child has a good grasp of reality, which is usually after five years of age, when the brain cortex is mature and they can make a distinction between real and unreal situations.

-Fantasy gives the wrong impression of the real world.

-Many adults think using fantasy is a way to bond with the child to capture their attention, but this is based on a fantasy, itself.

-Fantasy is an escape from reality when it becomes too hard.

-Fantasy can be used to scare children, in some fairy tales.

Every child should be able to experiment at first hand, to observe and to put himself contact with reality. Thus the flights of the imagination will start from a higher plane” and will produce the necessary work to build a better humanity. It is through imagination that “the intelligence will be directed into its natural channels of creation
— Maria Montessori. The Advanced Montessori Method Pg. 188-189


What is Imagination?

Imagination—as opposed to fantasy—is what we want the child to experience. It is the very basis of the mind, the process by which all the impressions taken from the external world are placed at the level of abstraction. Imagination comes at a later time in a child’s life, around the age of 5. A toddler is unable to visualize an imaginary scenario, his mind is quite occupied with living out real scenarios he finds himself in daily. Giving him the right words and materials to express himself and his senses to, one day, imagine.

It is a human tendency that, along with the tendencies of observation, work, manipulation, exactness, and others, has made possible the work of man over his environment to construct civilizations

The first thing we observe is that the child’s mind is filled with a quantity of images surpassing those which he sees in the outer world. These images reveal that there is a strong force, a psychic energy, in the mind of man, something which is different from intelligence

Imagination has a sensory basis, and its construction in the mind has to be firmly established by reality. The more it is connected with the reality of the external world, the higher will be the value of its internal creations

 -Once you have the reality, your brain is able/capable to imagine/create

-Often, people misunderstand and reality imagination with fantasy, but actual imagination occurs when the child has reality.

-Too much fantasy can hinder a child’s imagination—when they’re given all of the fantasy/toys, they are less motivated to imagine.

-To be able to imagine, a child needs to know reality to be able to put things together and create something.

-Abstraction can be a form of imagination.

-We all have different imaginations because all of our realities are different.

-Problem solving/flexible thinker


Reality is what you perceive through your senses, what is recognized by the cerebral cortex. With regard to fantasy, when the cortex is still immature the child cannot distinguish real from imaginary sensory input.

-       The reality, brain, and senses are very important for reality.

-      The mind must be able to organize all that they perceive in order to figure out what they think is reality.

-      Different realities have always existed.

-      Difficult to distinguish between reality and representations of reality.

-      Concretely what is surrounding us, e.g. what is happening now.

-      Objects that are in our environment, e.g. things that we can touch and see.

-      Persons in the child’s life, that he has interaction with, e.g. grandmother visiting now, not batman.

-      Present, e.g. what the child is experiencing at the moment, not in the past or in the future.

-      Every thing and person in its right place or for the appropriate use, e.g. chairs are for sitting and stay on the floor, instead of having pictures of chairs hanging on the wall.



What is television really transmitting to children? Can this technology be neutral, depending on how we use it, or can it interfere with the child’s emotional and intellectual growth?

Television greatly reduces real experiences. Information comes from the environment, from nature. In order to develop a rich and ordered mind, children need to be in touch with real experiences. Imagine a child is sat in front of the television or a cell phone/ tablet for an average of 4 hours a night, and possibly more on the weekends… it totals up to more than 1,500 hours a year! Can all the dimensions and sensorial experiences be gained through watching that much television? Many important natural experiences are made difficult for children. Only direct experience can be can produce personal knowledge.

Real Activities that can be done at Home

Plant flowers in your garden

Water the plants with your child

Set up an environment where your child can access their own snack to prepare on their own

Encourage art materials to express their own creativity

Look at books

Take a walk around the neighborhood

Go to the playground

Set up a Mini Obstacle course for your child in your backyard

Bicycles for the backyard

Have a conversation with your child(ren) at dinner time, not just on the ride back home!

AuthorRebeca Flores