Open-ended play allows kids to take an activity exactly where they want it to go. This usually means that they will take it where they need it to go developmentally. Kids will often naturally, instinctively engage in the kind of play they need to help themselves along or process what's going on around them. The other great thing about it is it let's kids be just right there in the moment. Nothing is expected of them, nothing needs to be done, they just get carried away in creative bliss. What a nice state to be in.
To encourage open-ended play you can:
- Have play resources organised and accessible at all times
- Choose to include natural items in play like rocks, stones, gumnuts and leaves
- Make sure kids have a space to let loose with their play
- Choose to buy toys that can be used in lots of different ways
- Include everyday items in play tubs too - things like notepads, pens, containers, wooden spoons, purses, handbags, pegs, kitchen cooking equipment (just remember to check for safety issues when using everyday items)
- Start a box of craft materials that can be used for open ended art impulses!