Structured play has advantages, such as developing attention and understanding of the rules, but a young child will be more interested in free play. Indeed, all children are born with an innate curiosity, a desire to play, a need to socialize and a deep desire to learn. Playing freely allows the child to improve self-confidence, autonomy, and creative thinking.
The benefits of free play
- Develop self-confidence. During free play, a child can take advantage of it to try all kinds of things. Indeed, the absence of rules offers great freedom to the child. He can take the initiative of the game and decide what he wants. This allows him to feel more in control of his environment and thus develop his self-confidence. In addition, playing with other children, away from adults, teaches the child to assert themselves, to control their emotions and impulses, to negotiate with others and to make friends.
- Stimulate autonomy. Free play can help a child to be less dependent on his parents since it forces him to make choices on his own. He can then decide what to do and how to do it. It will be less difficult to have fun alone. Moreover, during free play, the child will have to find solutions to the problems he encounters, but without fear of failure. He learns to react to difficult situations.
- Foster creative thinking Free play allows you to use the same object in many ways, depending on the child’s imagination. A piece of cloth can become a tablecloth to prepare for dinner, a superhero cloak, a bundle or a doll blanket. The child develops his creativity.
- Make new learnings. Toddlers learn a lot from each other during free play periods. Parents sometimes believe that young people can only learn if an adult shows them how to do it. Yet, by providing adequate space and toys, parents allow their toddler to learn from their big brother or sister.
As a parent, of course, you can suggest game ideas to your child. Just make sure your toddler stays in control of the activity.
When a problem occurs
When your child has a problem with his / her game, it is possible that he or she has become accustomed to turning to you. To help him develop his autonomy, ask him to propose solutions himself. If your child is very upset, you can first use humor to dramatize the situation. If his frustration is too great, suggest several solutions, making sure that the final choice is his.
To stimulate free play
- Show your child that gambling is important to you. Remind him that this is a good way to have fun using his imagination.
- Make sure your child can have fun in a safe and appropriate space.
- Give your child a variety of materials to use in many different ways. The cubes, small cars, boxes of cardboard, the suitcase disguises or clay are good choices to allow your child to be creative.