Open Ended Play
Possibly one of the most remarkable characteristics that young children have is their creative imagination. They often loose time pretending and seem to be in a completely different world. One minute their plane is flying through the air and within a split second you will hear ‘ohhhh no, it crashed!!!!’. Sometimes children will find a cardboard box that will suddenly become a house or a fort, a car or a boat. Or sometimes they will try to sell you invisible ice creams from their shop. They have a natural ability to recreate and reinvent the world around them through the use of their creative imagination. As parents we want to help nurture this joy and creativity at home and open ended play helps us to do that.
What is Open Ended Play?
Open Ended Activities are activities that encourage a child to play where there are no limitations. There is no right or wrong way to play, no predetermined expectations and no fixed results. Open ended play is completely unstructured. Children can explore and discover and let their imagination flow freely unlocking endless possibilities, not only for play, but for learning too. Open ended play presents a world of benefits for their intellectual growth.
Why is it important?
When play is left completely open to a child’s interpretation, a child’s imagination can run wild. They can play with something in any way they wish to. So a plank of wood can now become a bridge to cross, a tight rope to balance on, they may have to walk the plank or it could even be a stage coinjoin set for an upcoming performance. This type of play is self directed play, providing children with the opportunity to make decisions on what and how they want to play helps foster independent thought and decision making.
When a child engages in open-ended play a natural curiosity for language is born. Through new experiences and explorations children come across many wonders, all of which need to be named. Play brings us together and through playing with others, children will have the opportunity to learn how to communicate with one another, helping them to foster healthy relationships and important social skills.
Young child are inherently curious, they take delight in exploring the world around them and open ended play feeds directly into this need. It helps children learn about cause and effect as they learn through experimentation and experience; If they try to build a tower using bricks and place the smallest bricks at the bottom it will fall. Figuring out how to avoid this is when a child begins to independently problem solve and this helps expand their cognitive thinking. Problem solving can also be frustrating and sometimes playing with others can be too. Allowing children to work through this frustration, when appropriate, can help them to learn self control and self regulation.
Different Forms of Open Ended Play
Open ended play doesn’t only have to be with open ended toys, it can be through simple sensory play, like water play, sand, Oobleck or play dough. It can take place outside in the playground or in your garden. Finding a muddy puddle to jump in, or setting up an invitation to engage in process art are all forms of open ended play. Open ended play can take place at any age but it seems to really become apparent when children turn two and a half and start to engage in pretend play and independent play. They often act out scenarios from their day or things they have witnessed and they found curious helping them work through and make sense of situations that took place or friendships they formed.
What we have in-store
Here is a list of the items we have in-store that are aimed at providing your child with open ended play.
- Little Surfer Balance Board
- Way to Play – Highway road
- Tinker Totter Treats and Heroes
- Russian Dolls with large Peg dolls
- Wooden Peg Dolls
- Rainbow Musical Marble Tree
- Magical Wooden Tree House
- Rainbow Kites
- Veggie Baby Finger Paint