As important as fantasizing may be for children, we can't make them do it on demand, and we risk doing them a serious injury when we try. I now understand more clearly why I have so long and so deeply disliked a scene that is very common in preschool and early elementary grades. While an adult plays a piano or guitar, the children are invited, i.e. told, to pretend that they are trees or birds or snowflakes or wildflowers or whatever. Children quickly learn that when someone says, "Be a snowflake," it is their cue to wave their arms and whirl and jump about the room. Since they get few enough chances to move in school, they are glad to seize this one. But we must not fool ourselves that they are really fantasizing. They are only doing what they know the adults want them to do, pretending to imagine what the adults want them to imagine, and pretending all the while that they are enjoying it. Whoever saw children, in their private lives and play, pretending to be snowflakes? What they pretend to be is grown-ups, kings and queens, or truck drivers and doctors, or mommys and daddys. If we try to make children fantasize, these fake fantasies, like the ready-made fantasies of TV, will in time drive out most of their true fantasies, the ones that come from their experience in the world and their need to make sense of it and become at home in it.
This reminds me of one of my instructors at the University of Florida-- this instructor would "invite" and "encourage" us to do such-and-such an exercise, but if anyone declined, the instructor would verbally attack that student and insist that they must join in.