The Importance of Unstructured Free Play

21 July 2015, BKK Kids

We often book activities to keep our children busy while they are out of school, but please don’t forget the importance of unstructured free play, where children’s imaginations run wild without any confining guidelines or rules. There are numerous benefits to such play, such as increased executive functions, which control and manage cognitive processes. Kids can better develop skills such as working memory, impulse control, decision-making, troubleshooting, and organisational skills.

What does that translate into for real life? Basically, children who engage in free play are more likely to learn self-direction, work independently in the classroom, establish their own goals, concentrate better in chaotic settings and engage well with their peers.

Below are some tips and ideas for unstructured free play:

  • The play and activities are child-led, leading to creative and improvised play
  • Unstructured play doesn’t necessarily mean a child plays alone – friends, siblings, parents and caregivers are take part in unstructured play, especially with a toddler or pre-schooler
  • Pretend play is great – build tents in the living room, turn the sofa into an airplane, create an adventure scenario in the garden, etc. – just let kids make their own plans and rules
  • Have children write their own story and turn it into a book they make and illustrate themselves
  • Build a free-form city with blocks or other materials
  • Make up and sing silly songs out loud
  • Set up an arts and craft station with recycled materials (paper towel rolls, plastic milk containers, string, etc.) and ask kids to invent something
  • Spend time playing with your children; for example, if your child wants to play “hospital” and asks you to be the patient, comply with the request and watch his or her approach
  • Encourage and participate in the unstructured play, knowing that kids are developing valuable skills that will help them in the classroom and throughout their lives

For more ideas on how to develop cognitive function in children, please contact BrainFit Studio Bangkok.

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored content from BrainFit Studio Bangkok.

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