Imaginary Friends Around the World

My son has always had a pretty active imagination. Around Age 3 we started hearing about his ‘friend’ Joshua. Joshua used to live “in the mountains” but seems to be a bit of a Nomad. Lately he has been away visiting South Africa, Kelowna, Calgary. His girlfriend, Penelope seems to come in and out of the picture too.

At first when this imaginary friend cropped up I worried. Was it as a result of loneliness, shyness, etc? As a twin, my son has a ‘built in playmate’ but I think he was getting tired of his sister.

After a quick Google search I learned that imaginary friends are often a sign of children who are very social and that they usually disappear around age 4 or 5.

My favorite explanation for kids with imaginary friends was, “If you could create someone who loved to play with you and did whatever you told them to- wouldn’t you have one?”


I like to think that my son’s active imagination has been fostered by our love of travel and his experiences in new places. We’ve never been to South Africa and I’m not sure where he heard the name Penelope, but I’m just glad he knows there is more to this world than the city we live in. We’re gearing up for our next family trip- this weekend!