The Importance of Free Play for Kids
Playing is an integral part of every child’s life. It is an essential building block in the emotional, physical, cognitive and social well-being and development of a child. Furthermore, free play teaches kids to be independent, so they don’t rely on their parents to solve their small inconveniences and learn to move forward from skills they adopt through free play.
Why is it Important?
Free play is unequivocally the most constructive activity that kids can do. It is not only a lot of fun, but if we look at its positives, we will notice a plethora of benefits that make free play a MUST for every kid. Several factors make free play a significant activity like the improvement in cognitive thinking by enabling kids to make use of their creativity that also leads to the development of their imagination. It also encourages the kids to interact with their environment so they can develop curiosity which leads to the desire to learn about things in the environment. Furthermore, free play allows the kids to overcome their fears like the fear of socializing goes away when a kid plays with other kids which leads to a higher confidence level.
Another factor that makes free play important for every kid is that it teaches teamwork to kids so they can learn to share and also resolve conflicts, a trait that comes in handy in their adult life. It also allows kids to become better decision-makers as for when they are playing with each other, they come across several events where they need to decide to move further in a game, and that helps them regularly practice decision making. All of these factors contribute to the development of kids, and that’s what makes free play an essential part of a kid’s growth.
Benefits of Free Play For Kids:
Best Physical Activity: There is no doubt about the fact that free play involves physical activities like running, climbing, and jumping to name a few. Unlike the activities in video games where kids sit all day in front of a computer, free play allows them to involve in physical activities that lead to more strength, fitness and an overall healthy body.
Builds Ties: Kids who free play, develop social and emotional ties in and out of the family. When they are playing in their school, they build relationships with other kids and their teachers who are making sure they have fun. And when they are playing with kids within their family, they develop lifelong emotional and social ties with them that come in handy at many stages of their lives.
Helps Build Life Skills: When kids play freely, they create imaginary scenarios where they pretend to be a particular person or a professional like a policeman or a firefighter. This makes them understand and remember complex rules and apply them as they go along with the scenarios and regulate the behavior of each other. This kind of activity helps kids build executive skills that benefit them in their professional careers.
Reduces Nearsightedness: According to scientific studies, kids who regularly play outdoors are less likely to have nearsightedness. This is because Sunshine and natural light allow children to have a better distance vision.
Develops Social Skills: Children learn many skills from free play and among them are social skills. By playing with other kids, coordinating with them and making strategies, kids learn to work as a team; they make friends which contributes to learning how to socialize and care about people. Furthermore, they develop problem-solving skills while playing with other kids.
Makes Kids Better Students: Let’s be honest, most of the kids don’t like to study, and when they are getting fed with tons of information on a daily basis in schools, they tend to get frustrated which can even lead to serious mental issues. But having a recess in schools allows kids to play freely and relax. This leads to more efficiency and also a desire to go to school regularly as they get to play with their friends in recess. This is the reason that according to research, countries with more recess tend to have a higher academic performance than countries with fewer recess times.
Increases Intellectuality: The best part of playing freely and having fun without any tension of the world is that kids enhance their intellectuality by involving in games that require them to be creative. Fun games like LEGO allows kids to create structures according to their creativity which contributes to increasing their intellectual level. Furthermore, games that require kids to have physical activities allow them to be good decision makers as they need to decide where to go, which obstacle to climb to go ahead or where to hide like in hide and seek game.
What Does Unstructured Free Play Mean?
There are two types of free plays; structured and unstructured. The former one focuses on structured learning with specific objectives which are completed with the lead of an instructor. The instructor can be a person or a booklet whereas the later one (unstructured) has no set of rules or instructions to follow. This type of free play opens up a world with unlimited possibilities. Kids can play any games they want or can even invent their own. These activities allow them to develop more intellectual, physical, emotional and social skills.
Many schools focus on either structured or unstructured free play while some follow the balance of both. My First Years Preschool is among the later ones. We understand the importance of letting kids play in both structured and unstructured environments. Therefore My First Years Preschool is committed to developing the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, ethical, and problem-solving skills of children. Kids enrolled in My First Years Preschool play in different meticulously developed settings including nurturing, challenging, supportive and stimulating environments to develop different qualities and abilities while exploring and interacting with the world around them. With proper guidance and little inspiration, kids embark on a journey to happiness, confidence, and independence while developing crucial life skills.