What is open ended play?
Open ended play is a unique and powerful learning experience for your kid.
It often makes use of material/objects/toys that basically do nothing.
An open ended toy can be used in many ways depending upon day, mood, imagination and desire of the kid.
These toys/objects could be an old cardboard box, blocks, Sticks, Balls, Scarves, Boxes, Rings, and Bowls etc.
These open ended toys have no buttons, no lights, and no batteries.
They don’t move by themselves nor do they make electronic sounds.
These toys can be used in different ways by kids and every time the learning experience for a kid could be different.
Open ended toys are age neutral and there is no appropriate age to play with them.
What are the advantages of open ended toys?
There are many advantages of open ended play.
Here we list some of the main advantages of open ended toys:
- There is no ‘right way’ to use these toys so there is no pressure on kids to hold them right or to press the right buttons. The child feels a sense of freedom and develops initiative and self-confidence. The kids enjoy making choices themselves, affirming their ability to be responsible and self-directed
- These toys encourage self paced, self initiated and self directed play. These make for a learning experience of immense value. Kids learn about themselves as much as they do about the toy. Every child learns at his/her own level and pace and this makes for a great format.
- Generally, such toys are inexpensive. Since these toys/materials contain no electronic parts, fancy lights etc. the cost of such toys is generally not much.
- These are age neutral toys so can be used by kids of different ages in the same house. One toy to rule them all ☺
Which skills do open ended toys enhance in a kid?
Open ended toys enhance the following skills in a kid
- Problem solving
- Cognitive skills
What do the parents need to do?
- Encourage the kids to play with open ended toys. Come to a balance between different types of toys in your kid’s inventory.
- Provide space to the young ones. Make sure it’s safe, spacious and well lit.
- Partner and guide the kids where needed. Get down to the floor, kids love it when grownups play with them. You will also enjoy it, we are sure. Just try and fit into a box and watch your child laugh.
- Spread the word to other parents such as yourself. A good deed always comes back to you ☺