The Benefits of Unstructured Play for Toddlers*

A child’s development is the most important thing to them. Through this they are able to learn how to move, think and communicate with those around them. There are many ways that a child can progress quickly, through things like playgroups and school.

However, parents are recommended to ensure their little one is playing regularly, as different toys are designed for different areas of development. This is why it is quite common for parents with little ones to spend time completing different activities and helping their child work on different skills.

Whilst structured play is great, unstructured play is known to be even better. In fact, research has shown that parents should encourage twice as much unstructured play than structured play. Continue reading for some advice from this nursery in Holland Park, on the benefits of unstructured play for toddlers.

Boosts imagination and creativity
Unstructured play is the perfect way to provide toddlers with the freedom to explore their imagination and unleash their creativity. When given the opportunity to explore their surroundings without any strict guidelines or rules, little ones are able to engage in pretend play, through the act of creating imaginary worlds and scenarios. This simple imaginative play helps develop their cognitive skills, problem solving, and also enhances their ability to think outside the box. It fosters creativity and also encourages them to invent their own games, stories and solutions, which helps to fuel their curiosity and love for learning.

Develops motor skills
Unstructured play involves physical activities that allow toddlers to enhance both their gross and fine motor skills. Whether it is running, jumping, climbing or playing with specific objects, these simple but effective unstructured movements help toddlers to improve their balance, coordination, and muscle strength. Through activities like building with blocks, drawing, or moving objects, they also perfect their hand-eye coordination and other skills. These physical skills are crucial for the development of their motor skills, which will lay the foundation for future physical activities and day to day tasks.

Encourages independence
Toddlers are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for. This is why it is so important that they spend time on their own playing, as it allows for them to figure things out independently, without an adult controlling their every move. This activity alone can help boost their self-esteem, which will encourage them to do more in time.

Unstructured play is a valuable experience for toddlers as it stimulates their imagination, develops their motor skills and encourages independence. By providing endless opportunities for this type of play, you can support your child’s overall development.

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