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Structured Play vs Un-Stuctured Play

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 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
Replies (21-25):
kirbymom
by Sonja on Jul. 3, 2012 at 7:20 PM

 I usually just stand around and make sure they are okay with everything and everyone then I go and sit down. I check in on them every little bit or so but I don't direct them on how to play except to tell them to be nice and share.  lol 

Quoting BambiF:

 I'm so not a helicopter mom, these other parents must think Im nuts.
At the playschool thing we go to there is this little ball pit, you should see how the parents act around it!  "Take turns!" "Oh wait for jimmy to get out then its your turn to hop in!"
The pit is 5ft x 5ft, maybe 1 foot deep. What is the worst thing that could happen if 4 toddlers just jumped around and played in it?  They may bonk heads.  *gasp*  Then they will learn to be more careful next time lol

Quoting kirbymom:

 

Quoting BambiF:

 I think a balance of both is good.
I see some parents at the park/playschool following their kid around and telling them how to play.  It's ridiculous.  Just let them be for a minute!

 I've seen that myself. Its sad really.  Kids are a lot smarter than given credit for, even at these young ages. 

 

 

jen2150
by Silver Member on Jul. 3, 2012 at 11:18 PM

I recommend you read Einstein never used flash cards.  It  uses actually research to show how kids learn.  It is the unstructured learning where kids really exceed our expectations.  The unstructured play is also when kids are using their imagination and creativity the most.  It is really a great book.  It talks a lot about things I have discovered on my own while homeschooling.

Quoting kirbymom:

 I would have to agree more than not simply because the mind is easier to assimilate information when it is at ease and happy and full of wonder. 

Quoting jen2150:

I like both and so do my children.  I think unstructured play is where kids learn the most.

 


kirbymom
by Sonja on Jul. 4, 2012 at 2:09 PM

 Thnaks for the suggestion. I will have to get a copy and read it. It sounds quite interesting.  : )

Quoting jen2150:

I recommend you read Einstein never used flash cards.  It  uses actually research to show how kids learn.  It is the unstructured learning where kids really exceed our expectations.  The unstructured play is also when kids are using their imagination and creativity the most.  It is really a great book.  It talks a lot about things I have discovered on my own while homeschooling.

Quoting kirbymom:

 I would have to agree more than not simply because the mind is easier to assimilate information when it is at ease and happy and full of wonder. 

Quoting jen2150:

I like both and so do my children.  I think unstructured play is where kids learn the most.

 

 

 

cats911
by on Jul. 4, 2012 at 11:12 PM

Autistic children do so much better with structured play.  They need rules to go by.  To play with my grandson, we would change the rules to adapt to his ability at the time, and as he grew older we would adjust them.

Other children do well with both.  By free play, they learn geometry and spatial areas, roleplaying is very important, and just imagination.  Their brains grow with open play.

Shari55
by on Jul. 5, 2012 at 7:20 AM
1 mom liked this

I have heard of this book, and going to check it out...

Just like life, a nice balance between structured and un-structured play is important. Un-structured play helps the child to learn to share etc., where structured play helps to re-enforce the concepts of sharing etc.

When my girls were young (the younger two) they loved un-structured play..I can still picture the blanket car going through the place...when the passager fell backwards and hit their head the blanket car became blanket ambulance..to get a kiss on the boo-boo

(note to self....Proof read before hitting enter..)

Quoting jen2150:

I recommend you read Einstein never used flash cards.  It  uses actually research to show how kids learn.  It is the unstructured learning where kids really exceed our expectations.  The unstructured play is also when kids are using their imagination and creativity the most.  It is really a great book.  It talks a lot about things I have discovered on my own while homeschooling.

Quoting kirbymom:

 I would have to agree more than not simply because the mind is easier to assimilate information when it is at ease and happy and full of wonder. 

Quoting jen2150:

I like both and so do my children.  I think unstructured play is where kids learn the most.

 




  Shari,  not just a wife, mom, grandma, I am also a daycare provider and a Kindergarten teacher


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