The benefits of unstructured play for children

Game and childhood go hand in hand. These activities entertain the little ones, allow parents to approach their children and strengthen the bond with them and also grant several benefits to children. By participating in these moments, children use their imagination and know the world around them.

Ways to to play There are many, not only for the options that range from the practice of a sport to the emulation of a kitchen. Also the way in which these activities are carried out influences the development of the child through these activities. An example is the unstructured game, that is, free participation and without established rules allowing the child to let his imagination fly.


What is unstructured play

What is the unstructured game? This question is answered by Milagros María Campins and Marcela Hidalgo from the University of San Andrés, Argentina, who have worked to see how these activities can benefit the development of the youngest members of the household. These practices are understood as those formulas that make the little ones get out of their comfort zone.

Children are given different objects but they have to choose how to use them and not receive instructions on their use. In this way it is intended to stimulate your imagination and encourage research into the possibilities that these objects offers them.


Among the objects that were offered in this work stand out common elements such as corks, rings, fabrics of different colors, etc. Those responsible for this study highlight how the concentration of children grew when they had to discover all the possibilities offered by these materials. The little ones paid attention to the characteristics of what they had and how they could use it.

In this way the children were able to spend hours and hours playing while discovering the possibilities. It was also remarkable how the children communicated with their classmates and discovered their experiences with these objects and the uses they had found to enjoy.

Physical and mental benefits

The work done by the University of San Andrés is not the only one that highlights the benefits of unstructured games. The Public Health Service of Canada Other positive effects that can be used by children who bet on these activities are highlighted:


- Better management of emotional health. The unstructured games promote a better image of the child and this will improve their self-esteem by being able to solve a problem as simple as having fun with what is at hand. In addition, participating in these activities will reduce your anxiety by staying busy and distracted.

- Physical and motor apparatus improvements. Unstructured play also encourages children to leave sedentary lifestyles and experiment. If these activities are done outside the home, the little ones can let their imagination run wild as they move outside their four walls.

- Improvement of resilience. Unstructured play means facing a problem: there are no rules or a plan to have fun. The child has to manage in this adversity, a skill that will help them as they grow up and face different problems.

Damián Montero

Video: How to Encourage Play: 7 Benefits of Unstructured Play


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