Why And How You Should Encourage Free Play At Home

With increased time spent at home, parents may feel an additional pressure to constantly plan and do activities with their kids to keep them occupied. However, for parents also juggling their work-from-home responsibilities, there’s good news: sometimes having no activity is better than having too many!

Before you relinquish your iPad to your child to cease their cries of ‘I’m bored’, encourage them to seek out something to do by themselves. Indeed, free time – even for your young, kindergarten or primary school children – is valuable. Unstructured and unguided play time (but still supervised!) allows children to pursue their own interests and whims, whether it is immersing in their own imagination or curiosities.

Experts say that free play has plenty of benefits for children, too, so that’s another reason to plan one less activity today. Take a look at some of them here:

  • Develops independence

Children who have begun going to school may grow over-reliant on waiting for instructions. With free play, your child finally has the chance to call the shots! From coming up with ideas of what to do, to making decisions, children develop independence during unstructured play time.

By extension, this is also a time where the child learns to take responsibility for their own choices. Made a mess during play time? Not only will they need to clean up, they will also learn how to pre-empt future problems.

  • Promotes creativity

When left to their own devices, children more often than not delve into some sort of pretend play. Or perhaps, they end up creating something from things lying around the house. With nothing, or very little, it is up to the child’s creativity to make their time fun and fulfilling.

The merits of free play also means they can exercise this creativity in a safe environment that is not subjected to expectations, assessment, or judgments. If you’ve been racking your brain for ways to boost your child’s creativity, here’s your chance!

  • Boost emotional well-being

When your ideas and feelings are recognised and respected, you’ll feel more secure and confident. That’s what happens when you let a child choose what they want to do in their free time! The autonomy given to them empowers them and makes them feel valued.

Of course, there is also the aspect that the child will likely choose something they like to do. So, there’s little chance they won’t look forward to free play time – kids are almost always happy when given free rein to play!

  • Enhance the learning experience

Some of the best learning takes place when a child is playing. Due to their inherent curiosity, children often embark on discoveries and explorations when given the chance to. Say, if they are curious about aeroplanes, they might spend a whole afternoon folding various kinds of paper aeroplanes to see how they fly differently.

When they already have the interest, and go hands-on in learning, they are more likely to enjoy and remember what they learn. Instilling this culture of self-directed learning also sets them up with a love for learning, which will last them a lifetime.

It’s amazing how children can gain so much from just being themselves and doing what they want to do. That is why some schools, like the International School, champion a learning approach that is centred about play and student-directed learning. In contrast to most mainstream primary schools in Singapore, the international school puts the focus on nurturing the child’s curiosity while remaining in line with the IB programme.

If you are currently searching for an international school in Singapore for your child, why not start your child with the IB PYP? With the school’s stimulating educational framework for young learners, children are so much more likely to grow into happy, confident, and engaged learners.

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