Let’s face it. This year has not been easy, especially for parents with the onset of COVID-19, social distancing and lockdown. Keeping kids busy and entertained can be a challenge of note. Did you know that free play for kids is essential for healthy development? In this post I will be sharing the reasons why, and give you more information on how to encourage free play.
Why is free play for kids so essential?
Kids love to play and it is a vital for them to develop as they should. Learning independence is just one of the healthy aspects linked to free play. Let’s explore the other reasons why you should allow your kid to play freely and express themselves.
3 Reasons why free play for kids is a must
1. Children learn much quicker
This relates to both younger and older kids. Play is an invaluable tool for learning since it gives them an opportunity to learn about their world and comprehending different new ideas much quicker than traditional learning. Why? Children are more self-motivated and find it easier to learn through play. And that is why play is one of the cornerstones for therapy.
2. Play motivates opportunities for social interaction and bonding with others
Physical activities like running, climbing, swinging, jumping, etc. or games like peek-a-boo is essential for kids to develop social skills and it allows them to bond with others and make new friends.
3. Play boosts creativity and learning
Unstructured play where children can play by themselves and make up their own games is essential since it allows their imaginations to flow, and boost independent creativeness. Playing without boundaries and rules teach them to be self-confident and try new things. Free play is paramount for developing cognitive skills like finding different solutions for problems. They will be using skills like these throughout their lives.
How much time must be allocated for free play?
This is hugely dependent on the age of your child. However, I would recommend permitting your child plenty of occasions for free play during the course of the day, in between structured activities and homework. The more opportunity your kid has for playing unsupervised, the more advantageous.
Suitable toys for free play
The best toys for free play are a variety of undefined and defined toys. Undefined toys include anything from sticks, string, or craft supplies that allows them to use their imagination. Defined toys are things like toy cars, dolls, toolkits, and more. This doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive toys on the market to keep them entertained. Examples of the best toys that allow free play for kids include:
- Building blocks
- Wrapping paper
- Child-friendly craft supplies
- Different shaped and colored buttons
If they need a little inspiration to start playing with these things, you can begin by building a block tower, or take a shoe box and start coloring it with crayons and decorate it with craft items or colored buttons and child-friendly glue.
How can you encourage free play for kids?
To encourage your child to play on his own, you have to consider his age first. For instance, a one-year old will need some adult supervision as opposed to a four-year old. A great place to start is to create a designated area and supplies for free play. For instance, setting up a small area with kid’s furniture, painting supplies, Lego blocks, play dough, and craft supplies, is a perfect way of peeking their interest and allowing their creativity to flow. You can also use things that you already have in your home like macaroni and string. They can paint the macaroni and decorate it with glitter and beads to make beautiful necklaces. Grandma will adore a homemade Christmas gift that was made with love.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed my post about the reasons why free play for kids plays such an important role in their development. Feel free to leave a comment or share the love.