Have you ever watched a toddler create an elaborate tunnel system with a mound of dirt and a tiny metal car? Or build a detailed castle for miniature knights and princesses with a set of wooden blocks? Or whip up a tasty creation with nature’s finest ingredients? You’re observing open-ended play at its best!
Open-ended, creative play never goes out of style, and has been well-loved by many generations for centuries. In fact, some of our biggest thinkers and doers—great engineers, architects, pilots—acquired their sharp cognitive skills by playing with open-ended toys such as wooden blocks and construction sets. Plus—there’s no special location needed, no batteries required, and no mind-draining technology...just a little bit of space and a lot of imagination!
Children are naturally curious, and they are just itching to explore the world around them. Their little minds are designed to learn, explore, discover and create. They want to test ideas and find answers; and when faced with a challenge, they will try, try, and try AGAIN until they find a solution. Open-ended play is invaluable to our children’s lives!
Simply put, open-ended play is any kind of activity that encourages kids to use their imagination and follow play in any direction their creativity takes them: no limitations, no rules or expectations, no right or wrong answer. This kind of play allows kids to follow their own interests and fascinations, and to express themselves freely and creatively.
Why should you allow plenty of uninterrupted time for open-ended, non-structured play?
What are some of the Best Toys to support open-ended play?
If you let your child take the lead when playing, turn a blind eye to “mistakes” and messes, and don’t try to fix every problem for them…you may be amazed at the results! Share your inspiration with us at #hearthsong.