Open-Ended Play: What it is and How it Benefits Your Child
In today’s world, kids are told what to think and do in most situations. Electronics have taken away a child’s ability to use their imagination because it does everything for them. Open-ended play on the other hand allows a child to pretend and use their imagination.
Did you know?
Open-ended play is a kind of play that encourages children to freely express their imaginations, desires and creativity. There are no rules, instructions, or guidelines as there is also no right or wrong way to play. In the open-ended play, children are left to play however they choose. This allows them to exercise their independence as individuals, while also expressing themselves fully through their innate creativity.
What makes the open-ended play so amazing is that it is so easy to do! You can literally set your child’s play area up for open-ended play with nothing more than fabrics, paper, sea shells or pine cones.
Open play also has many other irreplaceable benefits for a child's development.
- It allows them to be creative and helps to encourage imagination.
- Children become open to experimenting with new ideas and learning new concepts as they realize there’s no right or wrong way to engage.
- Calming and relaxed activities help the child to better cope with emotions.
- Children practice their decision-making skills.
- Strengthens hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and vocabulary.
- The opportunity to spend time without stress reduces the fear of making mistakes in the child.
We know how tempting it is to purchase the character items that children know and ask for. However, research tells us that open-ended play experiences offer important brain development opportunities.
One of our favorite brands supporting open play is Grapat. Grapat believes that freedom to play, experiment and discover is precious to every child and so they have created a range of beautiful toys that allow play to blossom. Grapat toys are made using locally sourced natural materials like lime, beech and maple. All of their toys are made with keeping the open-ended play in mind. Our favorites are, for example, the imaginative sets Grapat Lola and Nins, Rings & Coins.
So next time when choosing toys for your child, ask yourself if the toy allows them to make choices about their play or tells them how to play? Be intentional about providing children with toys that let them use their imagination and support them in strengthening their cognitive, language and social skills.