Unstructured play is considered to be any activity that is freely chosen and directed by the participants. In the case of children, it should be initiated by them rather than by adults. It should undertaken for its own sake and not consciously pursued to achieve any other ends.
Research has proven that unstructured play is an essential aspect of children’s lives. It is integral to their emotional, physical and rational development and wellbeing. It offers an abundance of developmental opportunities for children to grow emotionally, socially, and physically.
Outdoor play, and in particular unstructured play, has dwindled over the last decade. Preschools and kindergartens have increasingly become academically oriented while reducing or even eliminating recess. This lack of free time for play can affect emotional development, which may contribute the the rise of anxiety, depression, and problems of attention and self control.
The Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick Jason Smith reflects on the decline of unstructured play.”Children's free play time has been continually declining,” Smith said. “ And I believe it's keeping them from turning into confident adults. When children are in charge of their own play, it provides a foundation for their future mental health as older children and adults. We have taken away the joys of free play and replaced them with emotionally stressful activities like high stakes testing. It’s ridiculous. At Click-A-Brick, we believe that children are designed to play. It is a source of happiness. You can see this wherever you go. Wherever children are free to play, they do. For that reason, it’s essential that we provide children with the opportunities to do so. It gives them the skills and attitudes required for successful adulthood.”
Play provides children with the opportunity to find their own interests. Through play they can learn how to follow rules and solve problems. By engaging in free play children learn to control emotions like anger and fear. It also offers an ideal setting for children to make friends.
Georg de Gorostiza, Co-Founder of Click-A-Brick, remarks on the importance of unstructured play time. “ There is an extraordinary human propensity to play in childhood,” de Gorostiza said. “It’s wonderful. I’m hopeful that we can regain the joy and experience of free play. My memories of playing as a child are filled with hide and seek and tag, of arguing over kickball and taking turns at jumping rope. I don’t know where or how we lost it but it’s a huge loss for society. This is the driving force behind our toy lines at Click-A-Brick. We want to provide children with free, imaginative and kid-directed play. It’s imperative that we do so for the sake of our children and society.”
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