Unstructured play is brilliant I think. Apart from giving parents a well-deserved breather (don’t we all need it), I believe it can have a really positive impact on children’s development.
I also believe that if all I ever do is structure, organise and micro manage my children’s play, there’s a danger of a few negative things happening…
Firstly, my kids may not discover, try or figure things out for themselves quite so much. That’s not good. They might end up not being quite as courageous.
Secondly, they may not come up with as many crazy fun ideas as they might otherwise. That’s not good either. They recently wore their trousers as hats for example and I am so glad they did. Playtime where children are left to their own devices can foster creativity. What’s more, learning to invent and problem solve are really important for everyone’s future.
Thirdly, social dynamics. My wife and I often do a lot of intervening between my two daughters to help coach them through disagreements. But occasionally, we feel it’s healthy every now and then for them to resolve disputes or challenges themselves. On their own. Not in a Lord of the Flies kind of way. But in a way which gently encourages healthy collaboration and co-operation through experimentation.
You never know where all this may lead.
Skate surfing with watermelons for helmets? Trousers for hats?
Wherever it may lead, I reckon unstructured play is a good way to nurture courage, creativity and collaboration. Essential character virtues for every young changemaker do you think?
What games have your children come up with in unstructured play?
- A simple, A4 printable PDF listing all 50 ideas
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- 4 online ideas
- 6 suggestions for home and family
- 5 ideas to help within the community
- 10 ideas to support the environment
- 6 impactful actions
- 3 small gesture
- 6 ideas encouraging entrepreneurship
- Incentive to get a Champion of Kindness certificate
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