We all want our children to be capable of independent play – play full of imagination and creativity. So, how do we facilitate that?
1. Make your play and craft things accessible to young children.
Organize things in small tubs or bins so that a child can get to them, and carry to his or her play spot. I love the ideas Raising Lemons shares for keeping supplies in-sight of the kids. Also, for more ideas, read what The Artful Parent shares in about creating art spaces for kids.
2. Provide only materials and supplies that are okay for your child to use.
Don’t have child-accessible areas or supplies that are “off-limits” – if it’s not safe for kids or too messy to use, don’t keep it around. (Like glitter or a hot glue gun — store up and away from the kid supplies.) See some clever ideas at Merriment.
3. Rotate toy bins.
Every quarter, pack up some of the toys that aren’t being used and store them. Get out your new-old toys from storage. Now they’ll be fresh and fun.
4. Set out supplies and toys for discovery.
Provide a 4-5 items for play and creating on a table for your child to explore. It could be things to sort, things to build with play-dough, things to paint, or things from nature. See an example of tabletop loose parts on No Time for Flashcards and invitations to engage at Playful Learning.
5. Prepare busy bags ahead of time for on-the-go.
Busy bags are collections of small toys and activities to engage your child. Get ideas for busy bags at My Small Potatoes’ busy bag round-up.
How do you encourage open-ended play with your kids?