In my previous post, I talked about how structured play is one of the two types of play that affects children’s development. In this post, let’s look at the other type of play: non-structured play.
What is non-structured Play?
Non-structure play doesn’t have a specific learning goal. It is more spontaneous than structure play, thus allowing children to freely organise their own actions. Some examples of unstructured play include: Pretending to cook and playing with vehicles.
Let’s use the MASFE VEGETABLE Chart for example.
- For Non-structured play, play becomes more imaginative. E.g. Let’s pretend to make vegetable soup. Use the vegetable softies to act out the scenarios below.
- You can ask questions as you play along with your child to indirectly help your child to learn new concepts. E.g. What do we need to make vegetable soup? Where can we buy vegetables? Which are your favourite vegetables? Why must we be careful when we cook?
- You can talk about the process of making the vegetable soup, eg: picking the vegetables you want, washing them, cut them up into cubes… Then we will boil water in a pot and put in the vegetables, stir them and wait until they become soft and ready to eat! Be careful when you drink the soup – it’s hot!
- Use the vegetable softies to role play with your child. Don’t forget to teach your child occupations too! E.g. a person who cooks is called a “chef”, a person who serves is called “waiter/waitress”, the person who serves on the plane is an “air steward”
Why Non-Structured Play?
Your child is given more opportunities to discover and explore new things in their daily life and this will attract his or her interest. Through this form of play, they learn logical thinking and are better able to sequence their ideas. They are also encouraged to be creative. Role-playing with others also teaches social skills like sharing, taking turns and respecting other’s opinions. In the example above, your child’s ‘cooking’ requires effort, time and love. They learn to understand and appreciate their mothers who prepare their daily meal.