Ditch the screens! Here’s why free play is crucial for your child’s development.
Keeping the kiddos entertained while staying home is no mean feat. So it’s no wonder why we’re turning to digital devices to keep the young ones occupied. It also allows them to learn remotely and keep in touch with family and friends. But the downside is that a heavy reliance on technology is causing kids to lose their childlike sense of wonder, many experts say. The solution? Let children be children through free play.
We’re talking about unstructured play time with their friends, to develop social skills and to explore their interests. This is easier now that movement restrictions in Singapore have eased and schools have reopened. Students are able to enjoy more physical activities and classes, although in smaller group sizes. It is essential that children continue to engage in sports, fitness lessons and face-to-face play and interaction with their peers in school and outside of school as well.
The benefits of free play
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are numerous benefits of free play for children. Here are a few to keep in mind:
- Free play helps children develop their cognitive skills. When children are engaged in play, their minds are moving faster than most people realise. Amidst all the fun and laughter, they are making predictions and building connections that allow them to hone and develop their cognitive skills.
- Free play allows children to build and expand their imaginations. They learn to make their own fun with the tools and resources that they have available – and we can’t think of a better way to pick up these skills than through play!
- Free play teaches children the essential social skills they will need as they continue to grow and develop. Children who play with others in a social setting learn how to communicate, negotiate and solve conflicts on their own, which sets them up for future success. Who knew they could develop such crucial skills while having fun?
- Free play allows children to stay active and plays an important role in keeping children healthy. Free play can keep children moving, running and jumping, which helps them use up some excess energy and continue to stay active. Plus, experts note that free play may be a major factor in curbing childhood obesity, too!
Unstructured playtime at school
On the hunt for an early childhood programme that lets the kiddos engage in free play? Check out One World International School’s (OWIS) inquiry-led play-based curriculum based on the IB PYP framework for its Early Childhood programme. The Early Childhood classrooms are intentionally designed to be free-flow spaces that allow children to explore their options and make their own choices.
With both indoor and outdoor learning spaces available, children are able to connect with their peers and engage in imaginative free play throughout the day. And fret not: all required safe-distancing and safety guidelines are firmly in place! We love how the classrooms mimic real-world environments, allowing children to take on community roles that they may see outside of school. This form of pretend play sparks creativity and encourages children to interact with one another. Here, you can expect a fun, exploratory environment that’ll make your child a seriously happy learner!
For more information on learning opportunities at OWIS, book a virtual tour of the school today.
This post is in partnership with OWIS.