It’s all in the game: the value of play

Creative play sparks independent thinking, imagination and confidence. It also encourages speech development and self-thinking!

University of Western Sydney School of Science and Health Lecturer, Dr Brendon Hyndman, explains how parents at home can use simple, everyday household items to promote creative play.

Providing a space at home full of household items can be a cost-effective way to enhance our child’s development via an ‘informal’ curriculum.

The use of everyday, household items provides open-ended, child-directed play, without increasing the burden on already busy parents. Providing space at home with a variety of household objects encourages children to actively engage in ‘doing’, ‘thinking’, ‘feeling’ and ‘being’. It enhances a range of key life skills such as creativity, problem solving, physical activity, teamwork, negotiation, social inclusion and co-operative play.

These unstructured play opportunities, with no set purpose, provides children with a ‘creative smorgasboard’ of play options. Knowing their creations can be played with will give students a special incentive and desire to produce inventive masterpieces.

Children that prefer less competitive activities can engage in imaginative, dramatic play, or build a range of play structures such as cubbies, ships, boats, rockets.

For the more competitive types, the household items can also be used for more structured, goal-orientated sporting activities using milk crates, PVC pipes, buckets, hoops, wooden planks, swimming noodles and plastic cones.

As parents are the ‘gate-keepers’ to providing active play opportunities around the home, making available a variety of household items will enhance the diverse developmental needs of your child.

What you can use:

  • plastic sand shells for sleigh-running
  • wooden planks for balance,
  • Pool noodles to replicate fencing!
  • Broom sticks for Imaginative riding!
  • Tyre tubes for rolling/tumbling
  • Milk crates /hay bales for jumping, landing or climbing.

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