Children love to play. The good news is, this is something really good for them. It promotes creativity and imagination. Development includes physical, emotional and cognitive. Free play time is one of the ways children play.
Play also helps your child:
- build confidence
- feel loved, happy and safe
- develop social skills, language and communication
- learn about caring for others and the environment
- develop physical skills
- connect and refine pathways in his/her brain.
Unstructured, free play is the best type of play for young children.
This is play that just happens, depending on what takes your child’s interest at the time. Free play isn’t planned and lets your child use her imagination and move at her own pace.
Examples of unstructured play might be:
- creative play alone or with others, including artistic or musical games
- imaginative games – for example, making cubby houses with boxes or blankets, dressing up, playing make-believe
- exploring new or favourite play spaces such as cupboards, backyards, parks, playgrounds and so on.
You can be part of your child’s unstructured play – or not. Sometimes all you’ll need to do is point him/her in the right direction – towards the jumble of dress-ups and toys on his floor, or to the table with crayons and paper. Sometimes you might need to be a bit more active. For example, ‘How about we play dress-ups? What do you want to be today?’
There is no structure to free play. It is not adult-driven like organized sports or dance. Adults can still supervise and even partake in the play but it is child-driven. It helps children learn how to work together and discover their own interests. Children learn to create and follow their own rules. They do it without concerns of winning.
Let your kid be a kid and join them on their terms!