When Josh was a little boy, he was too restless to watch a movie... except for Jungle Book.
Grandma D. bought us a VHS video of Jungle Book because we were broke and couldn't afford it - it was a lot more expensive than the other Disney movies back in '92 that were $12 or $14 bucks - it was $18. Thank heavens for Grandma D.! That video gave me some time to take care of things without having a 3 years old running around the house undoing my work as soon as I got it done.
One day, Josh told me that he needed a screwdriver. When I asked why, he said, "Because I need to go inside the tv and play with Baloo!" I think Baloo was his first fictional friend. And, I for one, totally understand the importance of fictional friends -
I don't know what life would be without Anne of Green Gables; Aslan the lion; Atticus, Scout, or Jem; Gilligan, Skipper, and MaryAnn; Belle, Maurice, and Beast; Mercedes Thompson and the werewolves; Alex Craft, Death, and the Faerie world; Odd Thomas, Stormy, and Little Ozzie; Meredith, Cristina, Derek, Alex, Bailey, and Chief Webber; Liv Moore or Ravi.
Fictional life is as important as real life; it takes us on travels to new places - many that wouldn't exist without imagination; we meet new people; we see things from another perspective; we gain empathy.
The importance of it is something so simple that even a three year old understands.