The lives of many young children look something like this:
Let’s take the case of Sara – she wakes up, gets washed and dressed. Eats morning meal and brushes teeth before her mom drives her to school.
While at school she shares in the daily activities of learning, playing and participating.
On Mondays and Wednesdays she gets picked up and taken to her dance class.
On Thursdays she has swimming lessons.
Each evening after dinner, which is often rushed and seldom does the entire family eat together, she watches a diminutive Tv or plays video games. She takes a bath and goes to bed to be ready for an additional one busy day tomorrow.
In this scenario, where is the time to spend in leisurely, unstructured play? To have time to relax? To have time for oneself?
Unstructured or free play is any operation that the child chooses, without anyone directing. The child is doing what he or she wants to do. This may be playing by herself or with others, but nobody is giving any advice or “set of rules” to the manner in which the play is to proceed. Unstructured play should be encouraged. Let children pick what they want to play. Allow free time to play and time to explore. However, if children only want to watch Tv or play video games, parents need to make some suggestions, such as:
“Today is a good day to take the bat and ball out and ask Jimmie to play ball with you.”
“I wonder either your doll needs to have on a distinct set of clothes. She would like to get dressed for dinner.”
Parents need to allow for a great deal of free expression in the child’s play. That is, there should be few restrictions on the manner of the play but it needs to be at a safe level. Parent’s attitude toward play is important, too, as it influences how a child views an activity. Their attitude should reflect the point of play. either adults comprehend it or not, they promote creativity and other expressions in children by what they do and say.
During unstructured play children can find out either or not some of their ideas work. When allowed to pick their play activity, they may find a single skill or interest and continue to found it. They can experiment with distinct concepts and ways of doing things. Through their successes and failures they learn about the real world. To children, play is any operation engaged in for the sheer enjoyment it gives. When it loses its appeal, they go on to something else.
Through their play children learn about the world and how to interact with others. They learn to cooperate and share, to be good sports and good losers. They learn to conform to rules. It helps them use language skills and improves their creative thinking. Play is an prominent time in a child’s life. It provides them with many opportunities to found physically, emotionally, socially, and morally.
Structured time, such as the dance and swim lessons, and many types of play activities conducted in pre-schools and schools request definite techniques and systems are followed. This is prominent for children, too, but they need time to “do their own thing”, just as grown-ups need time to unwind and have time to themselves.
Parents or caregivers want their children to be well-balanced, capable individuals by exposing them to many distinct activities. Many fail to comprehend just how rich, exciting, challenging, and educational the whole world is when it is being observed, explored and interacted with by young children. Families need to find equilibrium in the amount of time devoted to structured play and times when children can do their own thing in unstructured free play activities.