What is open ended play and why should I care?
Open Ended play refers to any type of play or activity that does not have a specific or preferred outcome. Simply put- there is no right or wrong way when it comes to open play; therefore, the possibilities are endless. Open ended play lays the foundation for creativity, problem solving, and higher order thinking which leads to a sense of autonomy, confidence and the development of emotional intelligence.
As a parent or caregiver, providing kids with opportunities to initiate open ended play scenarios gives them the ability to experiment on their own terms in a low stress environment. Open play serves as an outlet for over scheduled, overstimulated children where they can blow off steam and express themselves as an individual. And since open-ended toys provide an infinite amount of uses, they are renewable play resources where less really is more.
How does my child benefit from open ended play?
#1 Develop Problem Solving Skills- Open play allows children to identify and define problems then see them through to solutions at their own pace. If he or she is working with building blocks and has planned to construct their version of a high-rise, they must work through the problem of establishing a solid base before reaching their goal.
#2 Foster Creativity- Since open-ended toys and activities provide infinite possibilities, your child has no limits for what they wish to do. A Play Silk might serve as the cape to their superhero alter-ego or a prop in a city constructed of building blocks.
#3 Build Confidence- The lack of limitations in open ended play scenarios allows for children to experiment in a low stress environment where there is no right or wrong result. This allows your child to play with zero inhibitions and provides a sense of accomplishment when they are satisfied with their own results.
#4 Teach emotional intelligence- When children engage with each other or their parents in an open play environment they have the opportunity to learn from them. This can take form in the way of pretend play, role playing or working together on a project.
#5 Renewable Play Resources- Less is more when it comes to facilitating open ended play environments. Because open ended toys are multi use, they can be used over and over in many different ways to grow with your child.
How can I create more opportunities for open play at home?
Begin to explore ways that you can engage with your child through play and become a part of the Curated Play community. Like us on Facebook and join our mailing list for updates leading up to our official launch!