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Exploring Open Ended Play

Many parents have already explored open ended play with their child, even if they didn't realise it. For those still a little unsure to what it is and why open ended play can be so good for children, here's a little guide. 

What is open-ended play?

Open-ended play is a term for play that has no pre-determined limitations. This type of play allows children to simply follow their imagination. To play and go in any direction their creativity takes them. As there are no set outcomes, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with open-ended play.

Why is open-ended play important?

Open-ended play instills confidence in your child to experiment with new concepts as they realise there's no right or wrong way to engage. It gives a child freedom to explore their creativity without rules or instructions. Open-ended play leaves the decision-making up to the child. When you give them a set of building bricks, with no end result to follow, and they’ll build a creation entirely from their imagination. They become the creative leader of their play time, helping them develop critical decision-making skills.

What skills does open-ended play help develop?

  • self regulation
  • working memory
  • self discovery
  • imagination / creativity
  • emotional intelligence
  • cooperative play

and many more

What are open ended toys?

There are a number of toys and resources that work as open ended toys and one of the best things about these, is that they can be used by children, in different ways throughout their childhood. These include:

  • Wooden blocks
  • toy animals
  • colouring pencils / crayons
  • stackers
  • Animal figures
  • pebbles
  • peg dolls