The Importance of Free Play in Early Childhood.
Free play or unstructured play is all the activities that children get to do without supervising or coaching from parents or caretakers.
Usually, when we think about playtime, the classic image of a parent running around their children is what comes to mind. This, of course, is normal. We do not want our children to suffer injuries so we tend to control what happens around them when playing. Sometimes, we control too much.
So, what is the importance of free play in early childhood? Spimbey has gathered some information, and we are ready to talk about what we love the most: playing!
Let us find out what free play time can do for our children.
It helps with creativity.
Playing freely is important for children because it allows them to explore the world on their own. In a controlled environment, children play with the toys we bought them, and we tell them how to use them.
But, when a child engages in unstructured play, they get the opportunity to use their imagination and creativity to have fun. Despite the importance of knowing how things work so they can use them properly, it is equally important for children to explore and find solutions to problems.
Free play opens the chances for better development of problem-solving skills. Learning through play is what children do best. There is no such thing as “just playing”.
This study from the American Academy concludes the following:
“Play is intrinsically motivated and leads to active engagement and joyful discovery. Although free play and recess need to remain integral aspects of a child’s day, the essential components of play can also be learned and adopted by parents, teachers, and other caregivers to promote healthy child development and enhance learning.”
It helps them blow some steam.
These days, we tend to sign up our children for countless extra-curricular activities: sports, foreign language classes, music lessons, etc. In the end, every inch of our children’s days ends up filled with activities and things to do.
This type of play is important for children as it allows them to feel free while doing what they love most: playing. Kids with strict daily routines tend to “forget” how to have fun because nothing they do is actually just for the fun of it.
Playing will never be something trivial or a waste of time. Earley childhood is a key stage in a child’s development as it is a stage where their brains are absorbing and processing tons of information they will later use.
Playing is a vehicle for learning.
Allows natural social exchange.
Social situations can be awkward for children. But nothing will ever be as awkward as a bunch of kids looking at each other without anything to do.
Free play allows social and emotional development to manifest more naturally. When several kids are together and they engage in free play, they will have to use their imaginations and social skills to create a good environment.
Young children approaching middle school can particularly benefit from free play and all the opportunities that creates for healthy social exchange.
What is considered Free play?
Free play is basically any form of playing that does not have a structure or final goal. Here are some examples:
- Playing outdoors with play or sports equipment like a playground o a football.
- Drawing, painting, and all types of art and crafts.
- Reading and singing.
- Play pretend scenarios.
Spimbey provides tour children with a space they can feel they own and where they can unravel their imagination and travel to possible worlds.
Visit our webshop to look at the different options to transform your backyard into a wonderland.
At Spimbey, a playground is a game away from a castle.