Benefits of Unstructured Play

1) Play is important to healthy development of the brain;

2)Undirected play helps children learn how to work collaboratively, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and learn self-advocacy skills;

3)When play is child-driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover areas of interest on their own, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue;

4)When play is controlled by adults – such as in organized sports – children have to follow to adult rules and concerns (like winning) and lose some of the benefits play offers them, particularly in developing creativity, leadership and group skills.

5)Play and unscheduled time that allows for peer interactions is an important component of social-emotional learning; and

6)Free, child-driven, creative play protects against the effects of pressure and stress.

7)The process of pretending builds skills in many essential developmental areas. When your child engages in pretend (or dramatic) play, he is actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, he learns how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve.

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