5 Benefits of Open-Ended Play: Why are Open-Ended Toys Beneficial?
Looking for creative ways to keep kids busy and engaged in activities that foster their development? Then it’s time to explore the benefits of open-ended play theory!
Open-ended play refers to playing without boundaries or limits. There are no set rules or instructions, no winning or losing — allowing kids to express their creativity freely. Not only are there countless developmental benefits of open-ended play, but it keeps your kids busy for hours — so you can finally savor every bite of your lunch rather than wolfing it down — we get it!
Play is a powerful tool in development. There’s a strong link between childhood play and the roles kids assume when they grow up. Studies show that play can mirror child development in other areas.
Creating art strengthens their ability to express themselves. Nature walks foster their curiosity. And don’t forget open-ended play toys like Squaregles Magnetic Building Toys, which hone kids’ STEAM skills — incorporating science, technology, engineering, art, and math into open-ended playtime!
Why is open-ended play important in a child's development? In essence, play is ”indirect” and multidimensional learning. Through the power of play, children develop and hone skills they’ll use throughout their lives.
Open-ended learning activities foster these skills in a fun, exciting, boundless way. Let’s take a look at the benefits kids will gain.
So why is it important that children be given projects that are open-ended? Albert Einstein said that “play is the highest form of research” — and we agree! Studies back up the benefits of open-ended play.
From getting kids to spend more time outside to fostering their overall growth, open-ended play encourages children to chase their curiosity, practice decision-making, express their creativity, and boost their independence.
Another bonus? It keeps them busy — giving us parents precious time to catch up on to-dos or squeeze in some self-care.
Here are five open-ended play benefits, with a few examples of open-ended toys to help get you started.
1. Ignites their imagination
When your kids were little, did they ever spend more time playing with a toy’s cardboard packaging than with the actual toy? Maybe they pretended it was a racecar zooming down the speedway or a castle tower where they ruled over their loyal subjects.
That’s what’s amazing about the open-ended play benefits, especially with magnetic building toys. They create a space for children to design their play experience, from building skyscrapers for their Oggs characters to creating unique storylines and an entire magnetic universe for their characters. With endless possibilities, your child’s imagination will keep them occupied for hours!
2. It gets them into a flow state
As parents, we all love watching our kids engage in activities they love! When they completely immerse themselves in activities free of distractions and lose all sense of time, psychologists refer to this as a “state of flow.”
We’ve all been there — devouring a page-turning book, tackling a home DIY project — well, kids experience a flow state, too!
This flow state is one of the best benefits of open-ended play. When they fully immerse into an activity, kids are more engaged in experiences versus the potential for a reward.
Open-ended play benefits kids’ development by creating the ideal setting for flow and fostering intrinsic motivation. Why is this important?
According to the National Association of School Psychologists, intrinsically motivated kids are better equipped to learn and retain information later on.
3. Fosters their social and emotional intelligence
Another one of the benefits of open-ended play is that it teaches children to read social cues — things like tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions. Many think this developmental process occurs during toddler years, but it carries through the grade school years and beyond.
The low-pressure nature of open-ended play benefits their exploration and interactions with other kids. They hone their social and emotional skills by reading and responding to others during open-ended play. Through open-ended character play, they are also able to process situations and emotions they encounter throughout the day.
4. Removes the fear barrier
Fear is one of the most significant barriers to learning, especially for kids. As parents, it’s our job to ensure our children have a safe, secure space to learn and grow.
Our kids all learn and play uniquely, and that’s one of the greatest benefits of open-ended play — kids have the freedom to play unbounded. They’ll gain the courage to take risks and explore new ideas.
Since there is no right or wrong way to engage with open-ended toys like educational magnetic toys or forest animals — kids feel safe and empowered to follow their curiosity.
5. Develops Leadership Skills
Open-ended play benefits children by encouraging them to lead. With fear and pressure out of the way, kids can take charge and make decisions. As parents, we want our kids to think on their toes, make complex decisions, and develop their own viewpoints as they grow.
With these skills, kids can step into leadership roles later in life, and be equipped to tackle group projects or complex assignments with confidence.
That is precisely what open-ended toys accomplish: they foster imagination, showing kids the bigger picture of what’s possible, which is anything they set their mind to!
We’ve shared the top five benefits of open-ended play, highlighting the importance of creating play experiences that help your kids develop and flourish. Now that you know why open-ended toys are better for their creativity and learning, it’s time to bring these benefits into your home.
We’ve got you covered! Order our Squaregles Magnetic Toys to encourage open-ended play and keep your kids entertained for hours! Our educational magnetic toys will unleash their imaginations, teach them the building blocks of STEAM learning, and ignite their creativity!
Now, go savor that hot cup of tea — you deserve it!