While academics rule the roost in developing kids to become better informed and competitive individuals but all work and no play really makes Jack a dull and listless boy. Academics and play both need to be kept in balance if parents want their kids to excel in life. Having the freedom of free play puts children on the road to success and achievements in life. Giving them ample time and resources for free play shows a hidden, brighter side of the child which if nurtured and developed could really achieve commendable new heights and give a winning story already. Being with fellow playmates, kids get the perfect environment to learn a variety of skills, feel at ease, be charged up and feel the goodness of unbridled freedom. Free or unstructured play is the most reliable form of self-education and discovery that children can get. It gives them a great opportunity to try out new life skills needed in school and beyond from making friends, solving puzzles, understanding teamwork, thinking creatively, being the frontliner and practicing good habits. Because of free play children are able to think in their way without being overshadowed by other ideas, correct themselves where they go wrong, take initiatives, develop advanced creativity and come to know the practical aspects of life. Kids also come to know this way that actions are more powerful than words and that they need to be a complete package in themselves to manage life emerging as winners. Parents should know that the ego needs of kids and their emotional health is related to free play. Play is one of the primary ways of learning and development for children. Every child needs to be encouraged to play because it helps in the overall development and proper growth of the child. And free play helps to develop self worth and confidence in children giving them a feel good effect. Play of any sort, indoor and outdoor is an integral part of the foundation years of a child’s life. Children can develop many kinds of skills by the power of play like leadership, creativity,language skills and social skills.
Spending time with parents is good for kids but sometimes they need to be given space to do what they want to do without any guidance and direction provided by them. So here mom and dad can take a chill-pill and leave the playtime totally to kids. Free and unstructured play happens when the child is not following any rules or guidelines and just going where his heart will take him like when he is making a card house, is busy developing an abstract art, acting like Captain Planet or just doodling. Free play improves their creativity, imagination, independence and problem solving skills. It also helps to reduce stress. Kids deal with their problems and stress of the day through free play. Free play as proven by research is fundamental to every kind of learning and it paves the way for a healthy and active functioning of the brain.
But sadly this type of play has been seeing the lows since the 1940s because of changing ideas on education and fears about letting the kids be supervised. Parents have started understanding that free and unstructured play is a powerful brain booster but they still need to accept this concept and let it happen naturally. Parents can let free play become an exciting and organic part of their kid’s life by doing these things:-
1.Be encouraging and praise kids-–Parents should encourage the activities of their kids by praising them on what they are doing. For example you can appreciate your kid on the giant mud castle he built or the beautiful sea princess dress she made for kids prom night. It’s not necessary to offer your end suggestions about what needs to be done rightly. You have to know that the kids need to experience the feeling of doing things on their own whether wrong or right.
2.Provide kids with what playthings or stuff they demand—To encourage free play give them what they want. If they want soft toys, or puzzles or any particular board game, colouring crayons or that super character dress, do give them that. It will encourage imagination and give a boost to their spirits about the fact that they are doing something good and their parents too are with them.
3.Reserve the proper amount of time for free play—Parents should know that free play is a great form of self-expression for kids. It let’s them breathe in their shoes and focus on anything they like. So thus the kids develop confidence, become more organized in thought and action, develop their creative wings and get ready to soar high, winning in all their endeavours. Parents should not overburden them with a tight schedule of homework and extracurriculars which they don’t specifically like. The stereotype routine should be improvised to let enter the fun world setup where they feel happy, active and free.
4.Invite everyone—Parents should invite the kids from the neighbourhood and assemble them all in the front yard giving them playthings which they like. In this way your kid gets exposure to children from different backgrounds, age groups and thinking and thus have more fun. Mixed age hangups lead kids to diversify their territory of thoughts making them smarter, able, proactive and an all rounder. It creates a better environment for learning and gives a lot of interactional opportunities.
5.Make kids understand the importance of free play—Parents should make kids understand the importance of free play by letting them experience boredom and the feeling of being stuck in the same activity for long. Then they must know how to overcome this feeling and parents should not give their piece of advice as the solution to their problem. Kids must be encouraged to go find their own perfect solutions for their boredom issues and thus give them the power of choice and decision making.
6.Be there when needed—You surely need to give kids their play space to have fun but you can’t expect them to keep on playing alone for ages. Sometimes parents should participate and play with their kids trying to make things more fun.
Kids learn many new things through free play and their personality and skills grow by leaps and bounds.
The advantages of free play are:-
1.Children develop a strong sense of self-worth from being creative. For e.g., while making a house of cards your child may have to try to keep the card house intact and it may topple over many times. But by trying again and again the child will learn the virtue of perseverance and gain confidence over his own quality of patience and problem solving.
2.It has been proven by research that free play and make-believe games make children understand the concept of group dynamics, togetherness and unity. These games hone their abilities to collaborate, cooperate, empathize and to expand in all dimensions towards advancement.
3.Parents should give kids some me-time apart from the us-time they are regularly entitled to. This will help them discover their weaknesses and strong points, correct them and to look forward over the horizon of stereotype learning.
Parents can add fun chunk in the lives of kids by––
1.Giving value to fun zones—Places where children like to go like a park, a play centre,museums,gardens should be remembered and parents should take their kids there more often. Allow kids to do whatever they want to do without interfering there. In this way physical activity done will nourish his body and mind ushering in renewed spirits, making discoveries, knowing about his choices, ideas and more.
2.Doing some extra parent-effort-–Make kids more people-friendly spirited, enthusiastic about outdoor adventures. Make them more smarter in outlook and learn to rely on their own senses donning the robe of a street-smart champ kid. Let him know new things, discover new people, places, events and possess the power to lead.
3.Ensure some good playtime—Kids generally learn how to socialize from interaction and association with fellow playmates. Parents should ensure that their kids stay connected with other kids and participate in all activities together feeling positively engaged and happy. They should also try to settle misunderstanding and disputes arising between kids doing the ‘patch-up’ work promptly.
4.Let kids be more creative—Kids sometimes want to express themselves. And that’s how they make meaning of the world, through a song, movement, music, painting, story or poetry. Encourage children to make crafts or express their ideas in any way they want to. Do not point defects in their efforts and be supportive. Children having creative expression grow up to be thoughtful, tolerant who can tackle life totally being on their feet. Kids deserve playtime. It’s their birthright. Playing makes them ease out, be themselves, feel happy.
Today one of the most concerning aspects of raising children is the amount of time they spend in front of screens, whether TV, DVD, video, computer or playstation. And these forms are very passive ways of learning and entertainment. In these ways children are not learning by themselves or creating something new. They are just being passive recipients of auditory and visual simulation. These ways are very artificial forms of gaining knowledge which lack in natural touch and through which children do not gain anything valuable.
So playing comes as a healthy, alternative measure which provides every opportunity to make children totally productive, best of the group and give them more ways to stay updated with the world. Children express themselves the best verbally or non-verbal through free play. By playing children become sound mentally and physically and really can fill the super kid quota without any problem. So parents who love modernity and want to see their kids sparkle like jewels must accept that free play is a very important part of the best development of their children and they should also contribute towards its publicity, helping kids play, dream, design and evolve as best individuals, pride of the society and their families. So we should remember that—-
All work and no play make Jack live a sad and dark day. While some play in between really made him realize his dreams without worrying about his melting ice cream. He was such a boring book worm before he met loving playmates but after meeting them he became so happy that there were open fun world gates for him. To love life, live most of it and soar high in the skies before returning home and bidding his fantasy staff goodbye.