Make More Time for Unstructured Play

Children-Playing

Why do we adults forget about the importance of play?

And by PLAY, I mean, good old fashioned run amuck play!

Inside play, outside play, play with music, song and dance, water play, mud play, unstructured play. 

Kids make up the rules play….

Play – where kids are the creators, the players, the judges of  what they are playing.

I have been guilty of getting in the way of play or worse, not giving the opportunity or setting the stage for enough Play.   When I need inspiration, I often turn to other blogs like: Teacher Tom; Let The Children Play; or Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning for ideas.

Play has become the filler between our overscheduled activities.

It seems our culture is evolving to view play as far less valuable than academic studies, organized sports, dance, enrichment classes, etc.

As a Child Care Provider, I choose not to have a ‘very structured’ daycare.  I care for toddlers and preschool age children.  Besides eating and napping times, the children make the final decision as to what they will do (for the most part Smile ).

There is more to play than just fun. 

When children play, they:

{CREATE} Develop creativity and act out emotions through imaginary play.

Playing-with-forts

flashlight-play

{INQUIRE} {SOLVE} Develop problem solving skills from being able to try different approaches and thinking outside of the box.

playing-on-swings

{MOVE} {TAKE RISKS} Increased dexterity, coordination, strength and cardiovascular health through physical activity.

Slide-Play

{TAKE TURNS} {HELP EACH OTHER} Promotes social skills through negotiation, leadership and cooperative play.

 Children-Water-Play

{APOLOGIZE} {SHARE} Children learn self control and the natural consequences of their actions towards others, like acceptance or avoidance by other children.

 

Give them the setting and let them go!

You can provide the  backdrop and tools, but let the kids determine how they play. It is amazing how much fun children have with large cardboard boxes. Or give them a ride-on, helmet and slope – and let them go! Some tools and ‘something to fix’. Music and scarves. Water, cups and paintbrushes. Slides. Or just let them be free in their environment.

So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy watching your children play. 

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