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Structured Play vs Un-Stuctured Play

Posted by on Jun. 27, 2012 at 7:55 PM
  • 25 Replies

 What are your thoughts mom's? Do you agree or dis-agree?

 

Structured Vs Unstructured Play - Is That What Really Matters?

Expert Author Anthony Vecchioni

You may have heard the terms 'structured' and 'unstructured' play and wondered--which is better for my child? That's a bit like asking, 'Which is better: fruits or vegetables?' Someone who eats healthy is going to have both without even thinking about it. If you are providing plenty of playtime opportunities for your child, then both kinds of play are taking place.

Structured play has a set of rules with specific objectives. Most games fall under the category of structured play: card games, board games and classic outdoor games like red-light green-light and tag are all structured activities. Putting puzzles together is a structured activity. So is following directions to assemble a toy, model airplane or Lego theme set. Organized sports-soccer, hockey, tennis, etc.--are all examples of structured activities. Generally speaking, when your child is engaging in structured play, she is seeking the most efficient way to achieve pre-existing objectives.

Unstructured play is open ended with unlimited possibilities. Playing with blocks is unstructured play. So is coloring, drawing or painting on blank paper. Deciding how to play with a toy airplane or doll is unstructured play. Inventing games to play is unstructured activity. So is running around the playground or park. Generally speaking, when your child is engaging in unstructured play, she is in the process of establishing her own objectives.

A consideration more important than structured vs. unstructured play is to ask whether the activity holds your child's full attention. When your child is fully engaged in an activity, she is arranging and absorbing its meaning. She is finding reward in the act of understanding. She's enjoying figuring it out, whether the "it"--the activity--is structured or unstructured. If you make a habit of providing quality playtime to your child, she'll make a habit of taking ownership of an activity and applying her ingenuity and creativity to their fullest. That's a valuable habit--a lifetime learning habit that does not have its origin in structured or unstructured play, but rather in quality play.

Which side do you fall on...Structured or Un-Structured? 

by on Jun. 27, 2012 at 7:55 PM
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Replies (1-10):
mem82
by Platinum Member on Jun. 27, 2012 at 9:22 PM
1 mom liked this

I think a little structured play is good but I don't fret about it. I like toys that can be educational, in and of themselves. Bug catching kits, Legos, erector sets, and arts and craft stuff. My kids do more on  their own with tape and yarn than anything I could come up with. lol

usmom3
by BJ on Jun. 27, 2012 at 9:56 PM

 Un-structured holds my kids attention better so we go with that!

bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Jun. 28, 2012 at 7:54 AM

 We do both.  The kids love games, but they like to build forts and catch bugs and make lean-tos in the woods.  I think if you play with your kids then you'll do both at some point. 

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Jun. 28, 2012 at 8:14 AM
2 moms liked this
I think I agree. All children's lives are balanced with a combination of structured and unstructured play.
oredeb
by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 10:14 AM

 we've always done both!!! we love to play games etc

and we love to be WILD!!!!

bether89
by Bronze Member on Jul. 1, 2012 at 12:56 AM

Children need both, I think.

kirbymom
by Sonja on Jul. 1, 2012 at 9:36 PM

 I used to fret years back but not anymore.  And my kids are the same way mem. lol  : )

Quoting mem82:

I think a little structured play is good but I don't fret about it. I like toys that can be educational, in and of themselves. Bug catching kits, Legos, erector sets, and arts and craft stuff. My kids do more on  their own with tape and yarn than anything I could come up with. lol

 

kirbymom
by Sonja on Jul. 1, 2012 at 9:44 PM

 

Quoting usmom3:

 Un-structured holds my kids attention better so we go with that!

 Do you think thats because they have to be organised to some extent?

kirbymom
by Sonja on Jul. 1, 2012 at 9:47 PM

 Then would you say there is more or less structured play or unstructured play?  Does it matter?

Quoting bluerooffarm:

 We do both.  The kids love games, but they like to build forts and catch bugs and make lean-tos in the woods.  I think if you play with your kids then you'll do both at some point. 

 

kirbymom
by Sonja on Jul. 1, 2012 at 9:53 PM
1 mom liked this

 

Quoting KickButtMama:

I think I agree. All children's lives are balanced with a combination of structured and unstructured play.

 I think there should be  a balance of both but reality dictates that that isn't what happens.  There is always more of one than the other.   imho  : )

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