Is your child getting enough unstructured play time each day? With the very scheduled lives that most children have these days, it’s important to fit in some free time for your preschooler. Not only does it give your child time to unwind, but her intelligence and creativity are further developed during free play as she figures out how things work on her own.
Benefits of Free Play
Why is unstructured play so important? Free play is vital to both the physical and emotional well-being of children. Some of the benefits include:
- Enhances self-confidence
- Develops creativity
- Fosters independence
- Helps children overcome fears
- Teaches children to share and settle disagreements with others
- Encourages children to exercise decision-making skills
- Helps children discover areas of interest on their own
- Keeps children active, helping ward off obesity
- Develops social skills
- Encourages children to interact with their peers
- Encourages discovery and learning without self-consciousness that is sometimes present with structured learning
- Alleviates the effects of pressure and stress
- And of course, it’s fun!
Examples of Free Play
Free play is any unstructured activity that inspires your child to use her imagination without constant adult direction. Examples include:
- Neighborhood children playing together in the backyard…perhaps a game of hopscotch or kickball. This is a great way for children to meet their daily physical activity requirements.
- Going to the playground to swing, slide, or just run around
- Creating artwork such as drawing, coloring, or painting. What a great way for your child to freely express herself!
- Reading storybooks of their choosing
- Playing dress-up
Children need opportunities to play and explore freely. Daily free play prepares them to work well with others as they approach learning with a sense of enthusiasm.