How to Encourage Your Children to Engage in Free Play
Many parents put a lot of emphasis on structured play, scheduling their child’s day completely and constantly finding ways to entertain them with games or organized sports. While structured play has several benefits for children, free play is equally as important. Free play refers to a form of unstructured play that is initiated by the child. Unlike structured play, it doesn’t involve any rules or guidelines. Examples of free play include engaging in make-believe, playing on a playground, or drawing.
There are many benefits of free play. For example, free play helps children develop their imagination, decision-making skills, and problem-solving skills as well as encourages them to interact more with the world around them. Below, we discuss some tips on how to encourage your child to engage in free play.
Provide them with open-ended toys
One of the best ways to encourage children to engage in free play is by providing them with open-ended play toys. Rather than providing them with toys that include a set of rules or instructions and have a specific goal such as you find with video games or puzzles, consider giving them blocks or figurines. Such toys can be used in more ways than one, which allows children to utilize their creativity and have a little more freedom regarding how they spend their playtime.
Free up their schedules
When children’s days are completely packed with organized activities, little time is left for free play. Even if you schedule some time for free play at the end of the day, they may not have the energy at that point to fully enjoy it. To encourage your child to engage in free play, it’s important to open up their schedules a little.
Leave them to their own devices
If you immediately drop everything to play a game with your child or put on a movie every time they get a little bored, it will be hard for them to learn how to entertain themselves. As such, it’s a good idea to limit screen time and even reduce parent-child play a bit. While they may get a little frustrated at first, they’ll eventually learn how to entertain themselves, which will ultimately lead to more free play.
If you’re interested in providing your child with toys that encourage free play, Safari LTD has you covered. We offer a wide variety of open-ended toys that your child will love—from blocks to our wide collection of figurines, such as Wildlife, dinosaur, and dragon toy figures. To get your child engaging in free play in no time, shop Safari LTD today.