According to the Canadian Public Health Association, unstructured play is a child's right and is integral to healthy development. It is where children follow their own ideas without a defined purpose or outcome.
The term unstructured play does not have an academic definition but has come to be used as a generic term to represent child-led play that takes place preferably outdoors but also indoors and includes the concept of risky play.
Unfortunately, children's access to this type of play is increasingly limited.
Unstructured play increases executive function skills such as organizing, staying focused, initiating tasks, self-regulation of emotions, and self-monitoring or the ability to keep track of what you're doing. Kids who engage in free play are better able to set their own goals, stay focused, and work through problems.
Benefits of Unstructured Play:
Promotes decision-making skills
Builds gross motor skills
Helps kids work through fears and stress
Teaches conflict resolution skills
Helps creativity soar
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