Unstructured Play: Why is it Important for Kids?

Children pass most of their time playing with or without toys. Playing is crucial in your little ones' lives as it greatly impacts developing their skills and letting them learn different subjects and topics of their lives.

Some of them are structured plays where they have guidelines to follow, others are unstructured where kids decide what & how to play. They are both equally important for a child’s growth & should have a balance.

Usually, structured play is considered more significant than unstructured one but let's see what is it & how important it is for the kids.

What Is An Unstructured Play

The type of play where kids are free to play whatever they want and use their imagination and creativity is called unstructured play. There are no definite goals or rules in it. Children have the liberty to play as they like without adult interventions and directions.

It is entirely un-planned where your children will choose what they are most interested in, for example, kids playing with random household items, street play or parks etc. In other words, it can also be called;

  • Free play
  • Independent play
  • Child-led play

The Role of Unstructured Play in Kids’ Lives

Unstructured play is vital for your kids. It helps them in many  developmental aspects of their lives, especially at early ages.

A study conducted on “The Benefits of Unstructured Play in Public Schools” concluded that such plays help kids develop cognitive, emotional, and social skills helping them build friendships, work corporately, and handle conflicts. That is why many leading schools let children play freely and independently.

Advantages of Unstructured Play

Blossoms Creativity & Imagination

It is free to play, where children can create any play of interest. Kids can define their own rules and games without any strict regulations. They can think freely, which aids in promoting their imagination and creativity.

Also Read: Why Painting and Drawing is Good for Kids?

Builds Confidence

Unstructured play acts as a catalyst for boosting confidence among children. When kids are allowed to play independently, they can think of different ways to play, to achieve their desired goals. It not only boosts their confidence but their planning skills as well.

Helps Kill Boredom

Children do become tired of the same games they play every day. Whereas random play encourages kids to try new things. It helps them overcome their boredom and keeps them busy.

Boosts Efficient Social Skills

Unstructured play efficiently promotes social skills. When your child is playing with their friends freely, they can design their play based on mutual consensus. This improves their communication & negotiation skills which play a vital role in their later life. It also promotes the feeling of happiness and playfulness in children.

Helps In Developing Problem-Solving Capabilities

It is not always solo play; rather, it involves your child's peers too. When they tackle different challenges and define their play, it develops their problem-solving abilities. If they come across any challenge or see one of their mates foul playing, they use their problem-solving skills to opt for the solutions, etc. All this builds up their critical thinking skill in kids.

Also Read: Enhance Your Kid's Cognitive Skills With These Educational Toys

Develops a Feeling of Freedom

It is away from predefined guidelines, & given children a sense of control. Moreover, designing their games and rules allows them to think freely and do whatever they want based on their mood. It is one of the most relieving feelings & promotes kids' rapid development.

Gives Children Pleasure & Entertainment

Happiness is of utmost importance in our lives. Non-formal plays allow your children to play independently and entertain themselves the way they want. They are free to play in the mud, water, and sand, display their artistic abilities, and whatnot. All of this gives them a sense of pleasure and make them joyful about everything they do in life.

Promotes Pressure-Free Environment

As there are no predefined rules that kids have to follow in an unstructured play therefore they can play freely without boundries or dictation. This allows them to enjoy their game without pressure.

Common Examples Of Unstructured Play

It is something that your kids can play with literally anything which can be both outdoors and indoors.Some of the examples of unstructured plays are as follows
  • Painting
  • Coloring
  • Drawing
  • Making things with blocks
  • Running
  • Gardening
  • Dressing up
  • Pretend to play. For example, pretending to cook with a cooking set
  • Playing with balls
  • Playing with stuffed toys by creating scenarios
  • Using remote-control toys
  • Musical and talking toys
  • Playing in the mud
  • Playing with daily life items like household or school items.

Also Read: How Role Playing Benefits in Child Development?

Unstructured Toys: What Are They

An unstructured toy can be anything. It can be a spoon, a comb, or even a button. In short, anything that helps your child play using their imagination can be called as an unstructured toy.

Some examples of toys that let your children play freely by using their creativity are mentioned below;

  • Stones
  • Stuffed toys
  • Utensils
  • Bottles
  • Clothes
  • Dolls
  • Different shapes
  • Egg cartons
  • Boxes
  • Jars
  • Ropes
  • Paper rolls

Also Read:A Parents’ Guide to Pick Age-Appropriate Toys for Kids

Wrapping Up

Play has a strong impact on your kid's life. Free play, allows kids to freely use their minds, thoughts, and imaginations. Having control over their lives gives them a sense of empowerment.

Unstructured play, where parents have little interference, proves to be the best for your children as they develop a deep understanding of their actions. Their cognitive skills engagement is higher in this play. It will boost their confidence levels. Furthermore, they will feel happy and entertained.

Let your child build beautiful childhood memories by giving them free time and letting them enjoy free play.