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The Importance of Unstructured Play for Children

Published by February 20, 2017
Sutherland Shire Birthday Parties

In the Sunderland Shire, 6.4% of the population are babies and toddlers with a further 7.3% made up of
primary school age children. Play is more than just fun for these youngsters it is one of the most
important activities a child should do.

Play may help your child to:

  • build self confidence
  • develop physical skills
  • discover their own capabilities
  • explore their physical skills
  • connect and define certain pathways in the brain

Playing with their parents, family, peers and people they trust helps them to:

  • develop social skills, language and communication
  • learn about caring for themselves, other and the environment
  • feel loved, happy and safe.

Unstructured free play is the best type of play for young children. Sometimes they might want you to be
part of their play and at other times, your child might be happy to play by themselves with no hands-on
help from you. Free play is basically whatever takes you childs fancy at the time. What is important is
that you provide an environment that not only stimulates your childs imagination, but encourages them
to be creative, artistic, musical, and physical.

We tend to go all out for a children’s birthday party, but there are also some simple, cheap ideas for
everyday at home.

Some indoor ideas might include:

  • Make up a craft box, using empty packets and packaging, toilet rolls, old magazines, wrapping
    paper offcuts, in fact anything you think might be useful to cut up, glue on or stick together.
  • Keep large boxes, blankets, dress-up clothes and old jewellery for making a cubby houses and
    playing make-believe.
  • Have a space in your house, maybe in a walk in robe or large cupboard where your child can play
    make believe.
  • A table for crayons, paints and brushes, paper.

Outdoor activities might include:

  • A large bucket of water, with a range of vessels of different sizes, or a sprinkler in summer.
  • A sand pit with buckets, spade rakes, trucks cars etc.
  • Even just watering the plants, probably not your prize orchids!

You will be amazed at just how many inexpensive items you have around the house that a child will find
interesting and can experiment with. All you need to do is create the right environment.

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This post was written by Grant Carlyon

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