Adult Driven Play vs Child Driven Play

In this lesson, we will be talking about child driven play and the importance of it. Self-directed play is essential for children’s healthy development. When play is allowed to be child driven, children are learning decision-making skills, discover their own areas of interest, and are able to move at their own pace.

Child playing dressup

It is also important for adults to create a balance between adult directed play and child directed play. The role of the adult is to allow for the play to happen, provide the time and space for the play to happen and to provide resources when needed. When a child directs the play, it allows them to:

  • Determine how long playtime will last
  • Determines what happens
  • Determines if the play will change and be in control with what will happen next

Child driven play builds self-confidence, encourages independence, stimulates imagination, teaches problem-solving, and allows them to learn at their own pace. Children can build self-confidence by exploring on their own. They can make up their own rules and realize that they are able to do for themselves; allowing them to feel very accomplished.

Child playing in box

A sense of independence is created when children are in control of their own play. It allows them to learn how to depend on their self to make the next step instead of waiting to be directed by an adult. Also, with independency, brings a greater strength to their problem-solving skills. Children can figure out how to make something work the way that they want it to.

As you view the video below, you will watch Case Western University psychologists find that children today are using their imaginations more than their peers from generations past.

Children are often more creative during self-directed play because it gives them the opportunity that allows them to flex their creative muscles. They can see possibilities that others haven’t even imagined and allows them to develop their own story line as they play.

As we continue onto the next lesson, we will discuss how playing outside is healthy and with a positive encouragement to a child’s physical and mental health.

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