Open-ended play opens a world of endless possibilities for learning and allows children to express themselves freely. During this kind of play, children make their own decisions and fully engage their imagination to create a variety of different outcomes. For example, will the cardboard box become a rocket ship or a house? There are no rules or instructions or “right” or “wrong” answers!
Open-ended play is crucial for early development as it injects creativity within play during the most prominent stages when children’s imagination is forming. Through play, children subconsciously develop an understanding of problem-solving, practice leadership and decision making and become open to learning new ideas and concepts which lay the groundwork for skills they will use throughout their whole lives.
To encourage open-ended play, most of the time the less is more. With today’s advance in technology, most toys come complete with all the bells and whistles including screens, sounds, bright colours and so on. Wooden toys are great at encouraging open-ended play because they offer children a blank canvas upon which they can fire up their imagination.
The designers at Community PlayThings recognise how much children thrive on open-ended play with their very first product being wooden blocks, a staple they still make today in the same shape and size!