Free Unstructured Play can be defined as when children play without being directed by their elders. They do just as they want to do. There is no fixed game where they have to adhere to certain rules and regulations. Free play is very essential for the overall growth of children. It helps build up their Physical & Motor skills, Language &Cognitive skills as well as their Social and Emotional skills. There are many benefits of Unstructured Free Play.
No Pressure & Stress
Normally parents are always after the kids to do many things according to their rules. This brings in a lot of stress and burden on them. During Free Play there is no pressure and stress experienced by the kids as there are no rules to be followed and they are free to do as they please.
Decision making Skills
They improve on their decision making skills. They learn to find problems as well as solutions to those problems. Learning to understand right from wrong is very important.
When playing in a group, children normally play games where one of them decides what they have to do and everybody does just as he says. This imbibes leadership qualities in the child.
Learn while they play
Children learn concepts without realizing that they are learning something at their own pace and at their own time.
Sense of Independence
They learn to share , negotiate, take independent decisions and resolve conflicts.
Their creative juices flow as never before. If they are left on their own to probably draw and colour or even play with clay without being guided by the teacher or parent, they come up with things wich is beyond the imagination of an adult. Their imagination goes haywire. They love to go into the world of fantasy.
Social & Emotional Skills are Fostered
When playing in a group it fosters social and emotional skills. They learn to await their turn. This encourages them to learn to be patient. Their relation with their peers improves.
Takes them away from the Electronic Gadgets
The advantage of free play is that children are not glued to the electronic world like television, I-pads and Tabs. This is a big advantage as then there is no physical exercise and in turn no physical or motor skill development.
They learn to Initiate
They learn to take initiative. They create stories and activities in the world around them. Children are always ready to spin up stories and they always want to be better than their peers when it comes to telling stories.
Empathy ,Self awareness, Self reliance , Self confidence are all fostered during free play. It also helps to encourage physical activity in older children who do not have any time to play as they are pressured with their studies and different classes they attend. Free play helps in taking away stress, anxiety and depression and and also improves the overall mood of the children. Most children are very happy when they indulge in free play. So as Parents and teachers , we should always encourage free unstructured play.