No toys and no TV, sound like I’ve lost the plot?
Have you every noticed how nicely your children play at the beach? Or how they can make a game from sticks and grass cuttings in the garden? Or how engrossed they become when building a den with blankets and clothes horses? No so crazy now right!?
This kind of play is known as ‘open ended play’. Your child is using available ‘things’ and they have created their very own purpose for them. They’ve created a whole world using their imagination. When you sit back and look at what they achieved, what they’ve thought up; it’s fascinating. This is the purest type of play with the biggest developmental benefits. Children get the opportunity to use their imagination, explore and be self motivated. They make their own rules, work with others, develop communication and express their ideas.
When children play this way they are using so much more of their brain than usual. They’re designing, creating, working together, imagining, problem solving…I could go on! In a world where they are told where they need to go and what they need to be doing it’s so refreshing to give them the freedom to use their initiative. And, what a boost of confidence for them when they’ve created something out of nothing or discovered something new. Playing with no structure and without boundaries is pretty liberating for them.
I recently took my children to the Rendlesham Forest, there are some great outdoor play areas. Despite the resources being amazing, Isla and Evie spent well over an hour building a den. Reggie was happy exploring the woodland floor close by whilst the girls were engrossed completely in creating this amazing den. My girls are fairly close in age and they go through phases of playing nicely and others of not being able to be in the same room without some sort of disagreement. We were in the latter of phases, so to see them sharing ideas, working together and creating something as a team was so nice for me and seemed to remind them that they do actually like each other! What a breath of fresh air.
What ‘things’ have you noticed your child playing with or what have they created using their imagination?