How free play supports your child’s development

How free play supports your child’s development

You may be familiar with the benefits of structured play, such as learning to follow rules, take turns and share. But did you know that free play—also known as unstructured or open-ended play—is just as vital for your child’s development?

The benefits of free play

Open-ended play, which helps children learn naturally and organically, is an important part of the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy that we follow at Learning Ladder. It allows children to be themselves and discover the world around them at their own pace, using their imagination and without rules or structure.

Free play can help your child to:

  1. Develop social skills

Free play is a great way for your child to learn how to interact with others and make friends, whether working together on a project or just chatting and sharing ideas. It allows your child to practice the important, lifelong social skills of communicating, negotiating, solving conflicts and sharing with their peers.

  1. Learn how to solve problems

In free play, there are no right or wrong answers. Your child can explore their creativity and experiment with different solutions to problems. When children are left to their own devices in free play, they have to come up with their own ideas and discover how to make them work, which develops important problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

  1. Use their imagination and creativity

Free play also gives children a chance to use their imagination. Building towers of blocks and creating imaginary worlds with their toys helps your child to think creatively and innovatively.

  1. Build physical skills

Running, climbing and jumping provide vital exercise to young children. Free play gives your child the opportunity to do all these things while honing their gross motor skills and fine-tuning their coordination and balance.

  1. Develop emotionally

Free play allows children to express their emotions in a safe, acceptable way. It releases pent-up energy and frustration, and playing with others boosts confidence and self-esteem.

  1. Have fun!

Above all, free play is just plain fun for children! It lets them explore the world, be creative and use their imaginations however they please.

So, the next time you see your child playing with no structure or direction, don’t worry—they’re learning a lot while having a great time.

Play at Learning Ladder

Play is the best way for your child to build vital physical, social, emotional and intellectual skills. That’s why play-based learning experiences⁠, both structured and free⁠, are at the heart of your child’s educational program. To learn more about our programs, get in touch today.


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