Do you find your child playing dress-up and making up scenarios when playing alone or playing make-believe by themselves or with their sibling? This form of unstructured play is the best type of play for small children because your child gets to explore their imaginative abilities. Unstructured play has no learning objectives. Simply put, you let kids be kids. Yet, it plays a very vital role in the child’s development and well-being. Let’s discuss the benefits your child enjoys from this category of play.
What Is Unstructured Play
It is a form or category of play that is not instructor or parent-led. There are no rules or guidelines the child should follow. You allow your little ones to engage in open play and use their imagination. There are endless possibilities with unstructured play. Your child could choose to create a fairy world and live in it as a princess or king. The child makes their own decision on how the play will run its course. They create their world with their devices like blocks, pretend kitchen sets, vehicles, boxes, or characters. So how does this benefit your child? Here are some advantages of open play:
Boosts intellectual and cognitive abilities
According to Piaget’s theory, children develop imagination and memory from three to seven. As your child engages in unstructured play, they engage their memory which in turn fosters intellectual growth. Children learn a lot through this play that we may not qualify. This helps them develop the ability to make decisions confidently and solve problems independently, ultimately strengthening the basis for their future health.
Helps the child develop social and emotional intelligence
When your child is playing in the playground with their friends, they learn how to play together, create imaginary worlds, develop fictional scenarios and make decisions together. You will notice that they take turns engaging in a game; they learn to listen to others and read social cues. And because there is no pressure to achieve any goal, the children learn on their own.
Develop motor skills
Unstructured play comes naturally for kids. It is the way they interact with their world. By providing open play toys like a tea set for your little girl, she develops her motor skills in the way she plays with the set either by herself or with a sibling. Building and rebuilding a fort with blocks or couch cushions in the house until it stands allows your child to develop their muscles. When they are outdoors, they have the space to run, climb and swing, all of which are critical to their development.
When children learn how to play independently and make up their adventures, they learn to adapt to their surroundings. For instance, when your kid is playing as a ninja with his sibling or friend and another child wants to join in on the fun, they adjust the game to fit the new ninja.
Play is a crucial stage in every child’s development. Allowing them more time to have unstructured play will ultimately lead to healthy and happy kids and happier families. Give it a try and watch your child thrive.