Monday, November 5, 2012

Open Ended Play; A Must!

In this technological day and age (Pinterest, FaceBook, blogs) it is easy to feel that you have to fill your childs day with amazing art activities and crafts. It is easy to feel like a big failure if you don't. The truth is many of these great activities only take a few minutes. I would say one out of ten activities elicits a response so grand that the kids play for 10-15 minutes. It is just how children are wired; short attention spans.

It is very important for us as parents/caregivers to allow our children to have an opportunity to free play; engage themselves in an activity that we have not planned out. Open ended play. It is a term thrown around and I have found many parents do not know what it means. To me it means setting out various items so my boys can create whatever their heart and mind desires with little to no guidance from me.

Think markers, paint and paper. Boxes. Dress up clothes. Items that can be set out and your child will pick them up and play. Below are some of my favorite open play items:

Play Dough

Blocks, cars and painters tape. Yes, my boys created all this. 

Sand Box

Water Table (with or without sand)

You do not have to have a fancy sensory tub or water table to do these. A simple dish pan works great. Look around your house and see how you can invite your child to play. By the way, The Imagination Tree came up with Invitations to Play. See the link below; I think it is brillant.

Here are some more examples of free/open-ended/invitations to play:

Anna over at The Imagination Tree creates invitations to play for her girls. It is brilliant and simple.

Glittering Muffins discusses why pretend play is important.

No Time For Flashcards says It's Their Job!

Teach Mama discusses Focus on Free Play.

Have you invited your child to play today?

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