There is so much learning to be had in play. This can seem counterintuitive, but play is the best way for children to learn. In particular, free play allows children to use whatever tools and toys they have around them and create their own game. They can play with others or play by themselves. But the point is that in free play, children decide what happens next. This freedom is exciting and it is where children develop. Here are four reasons why children love free play and why it should be encouraged.
Children can imagine the unimaginable. Or so it often seems to adults. Children have a gift for creating unique scenarios that seem perfectly ordinary to them. This is most evident when it comes to free play. In fact, being able to fully use their imagination is why children love free play so much. It is a time with few constraints. A time to piece together what they have learned elsewhere and practice it in a controlled setting. Free play allows children to see the world as they want it to be. With dragons and princesses, and an unlimited supply of ice cream.
Children need to be active throughout the day to maintain their health. But for children, this activity is best when it comes naturally. There’s no need to sign up your child for a specific exercise class if they are given ample opportunity for free play. Children are constantly on the move. And free play is no exception. Whether it is inside a living room or in a play centre, children naturally walk, run, bounce, and jump.
As long as there are no annoyed neighbours below the living room, let your children move around. The more spatial freedom they have, the more physical active they will become. All this movement will lead to more creativity. Play isn’t stationary; it’s fluid.
Play can be either solo or in a group; it can involve working with someone or working side by side. Whatever the combination, free play can create an organic opportunity for children to play with others. They must communicate and work towards a common goal.
It can be tempting for a parent or caregiver to immediately step in if there is a disagreement. But, try to wait and let children sort things out on their own. It can be quite surprising how adaptable children are while immersed in free play.
No Time Constraints
Nobody, especially children, want to stop when in the middle of something fun. But scheduled activities end after their pre-determined time. Alternatively, free play is a lot more continuous. While there are still time limits, due to meals and bedtimes, free play is more fluid. Children love to play because their imaginations can take over without having to look at the clock and count down until their class is over. Without having to worry about time, there is one less obstruction to creating the impossible.