What is Open Ended Play

What is open-ended play?

Children are naturally inquisitive and they like to explore the world around them through play and toys. Open-ended play can be described as play that has no pre-determined direction or limitations. There is no specific task for the child to complete, children simply follow their imagination to allow the play to go in any direction that their creative mind takes them. As there are no pre determined aims, there is no constraints with open-ended play and the creative mind is simply allowed to flourish. The difference between open-ended toys and made for purpose toys is that made for purpose toys have a predetermined conclusion. For example a jigsaw puzzle or a game that must be completed in a specific way.

Open-ended toys are multi purpose and encourage a child to use their imagination and creativity. There are no rules, no expectations, and no specific problems to solve. For children there is no pressure to produce a finished product and the frustration that may follow if they are unable to achieve it. Without a specific set of instructions and a set path to follow, children are encouraged to practice their decision-making skills. 

With open-ended play there are no strict set of guidelines or rules, there’s really no right way of wrong way to play. This means that children are less concerned about how to play correctly and are allowed to be free and creative. Children can practice their art skills, craft skills, and more, without really worrying about whether they are doing it correctly. As children become less afraid to make mistakes, it creates a confident and curious mindset within them. This in turn can help create and a positive attitude towards learning new ways and ideas.

Open-ended play is crucial to early childhood development as it fosters the ability to make decisions confidently as individuals and solve problems on their own. These are skills that a lot of parents would love their children to develop, and many adults struggle with too. Open-ended play has a huge part in fostering the necessary intellectual abilities in children that provides them with the necessary tools to grow up to become strong and independent individuals.