What is open-ended play and how beneficial can it be for your child?

Possibly one of the most remarkable qualities in children is their imagination and creativity. This natural curiosity the children have makes them ready to explore the world around them through playing.  

During playtime, children participate in games and activities that prioritize fun. Open-ended play prioritizes fun and creativity. It can be described as a play that has no pre-determined limitations and no fixed answers. 

 What is open-ended play?

Children can simply follow their imagination to allow the play to go in any direction their creativity takes them. As there are no set outcomes, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with open-ended play. The perfect opportunity for engaging your child’s imagination and enhancing their social and emotional intelligence, open-ended play presents a world of benefits for your child’s learning and intellectual growth.

An open-ended resource is any item that can be used in a variety of ways. This could include things such as wooden board, a range of fabrics, a lump of clay, milk crates, shells, the list is endless.

Curve Lab boards are a particularly good resource because of their ability to be turned into anything the children want to create. They support children to develop motor skills; communication and language; self-control and concentration, as well as creativity, imagination and exploration. They can also be incorporated into various concepts of play.

The deference between open- ended games and other games

The toys you usually remember from your childhood are often single-purposed; Think of puzzles or games which have a predetermined conclusion. A puzzle is completed and the game has a winner. That’s why this games are called Made-for- purpose games because when the kids reach the purpose of the game it ends. 

In contrast, when you give a stick to a child it can be anything they want it to be – a horse, a guitar, a magic wand, a tool to make marks with in the sand or soil, or part of a building project they just thought of. Open-ended resources are multi-used and encourage a child to use their imagination and creativity. There are no rules, no expectations, no specific problems to solve, and no pressure to produce a finished product when engaging freely in open-ended play.

Children can follow their own interests and fascinations, and act out personal experiences. It enables learning in a holistic way, through active play with diverse materials. They can explore the look and feel of the materials and objects, what they can do and how they move. The creative nature of open-ended play also enhances cognitive skills, such as working memory, cognitive flexibility, self-regulation and self-discovery. Children can focus on creating based on inner inspiration and motivation.

In contrast, closed-ended activities have a determined outcome, a right answer and a restriction on individual differences.


Article by @Mary

Kids playing with balance boards