Creative potential in childhood, of a kind bearing fruit in maturity, reveals itself in imaginative play, the most complex of which is the invention of imaginary worlds (paracosms). Worldplay often includes the generation of stories, drawings, etc., that provide evidence of little creative behavior. Historical examples (e.g., the Bront¨es) suggest that productive worldplay may thus serve as a “learning laboratory” for adult achievement. Early research explored ties between worldplay and later artistic endeavor. Recent study of gifted adults finds strong links, too, between worldplay and mature creative accomplishment in the sciences and social sciences. As many as 1 in 30 children may invent worlds in solitary, secret play that is hidden from ready view. Worldplay nevertheless figured tangentially in early studies of intellectual precocity. Improved understanding of the phenomenon, its nature and its potential for nurture, should bring childhood worldplay to the foreground as an indicator of creative giftedness.
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