10 Reasons Open-Ended Play In Forts Is Awesome
Posted October 22, 2019 by Fort Magic
One of the best things you can do for your learners is to provide them with an environment that encourages open-ended play. You do this by being mindful of the toys that are in the space to ensure they encourage and invite imaginative play. Here are 10 reasons why open-ended play with a Fort Magic building kit is so beneficial for kids.
What Is Open-Ended Play?
Open-ended play is where the toys and environment allow children to use their imaginations. They do not do the playing for the kids. These types of toys don’t really have an end point because they act as aids to pretend play. Examples of open-ended toys include play food, doll houses, and blocks.
1. Allows Children to Explore Ideas and Concepts
Kids can do this in the fort building process. They can test a fort design they have drawn out to see if they make it come to life. Or, they can see why they need to do certain things when designing their fort to make it structurally sound. Kids can also explore ideas in their forts when they turn their forts into playhouses, restaurants, science labs, and clubhouses.
2. Creates an Environment Where Kids Can Learn from Mistakes
Building forts with our Fort Magic building kit is a great way for kids to learn from their mistakes. If they start building the fort and it’s not coming together with the way it should, then they can figure out easily where they made the mistake. They can go through the color-coded manual to figure out which piece is wrong.
The pieces pull apart easily and changing out one piece won’t affect the rest of the fort structure. Kids can also see the engineering behind why you use certain pieces. For example, why you would need a curved piece versus a straight piece or why you would want to use different types of connectors.
3. Helps Kids Emotionally and Socially
Fort building creates a no-pressure environment where kids feel more secure to start exploring and being aware of emotions. They can learn to read social cues from the other learners and learn how to read their tone of voice and body language. Open-ended play also encourages kids to develop emotional intelligence as they play with other kids.
4. Kids are Their Own Teachers
If you give your kids a fort building kit and then step back, you’ll be amazed at what they come up with. Their imaginations will run wild! They can have a schoolhouse fort built and then fill it with school supplies and teaching each other, all with zero input from adults. Children can become their own greatest teachers if we allow them the space to do so!
5. Helps Kids Get in the Creative Zone
This almost trance-like state makes children fully immersed in whatever they are doing. They freely go from idea to idea which allows them to fully explore ideas. Research shows us that being in this zone makes us feel more cheerful, focused, satisfied, and confident. It’s when kids are in this zone that they often come up with their best ideas.
6. Encourages Cooperative Play
Cooperative play is an important part of childhood and pretend play. Children can come together and figure out their own strengths and weaknesses. One child might be a better leader and act as the project supervisor for their fort project. Another child might be more of a designer and can come up with the fort design while another child might have an engineer’s mind and can make that design come to life.
7. Takes Away the Fear of Trial and Error Learning
One of the biggest things that hold people back from learning something new is fear. Many people fear making mistakes and the effect it might have. However, when you’re building forts you’re going to make many mistakes in the beginning.
Kids will get to see that and also the fact that the mistake they made is no big deal. This will help build their confidence. That confidence will flow into other areas of their life as they feel more empowered by their mistakes.
8. Encourages their Imagination
Not too long ago, the only thing kids had to play with was what we consider open-ended toys. Kids would spend their days with only a select few treasures they found and their imagination. We know that this type of play is a vital part of brain development for kids.
However, we currently live in an age where most toys do the playing for the kids. Everything lights up and has sounds or kids spend their time in front of screens playing games or watching videos. Fort building a classic part of childhood that gives your child an endless ability to use their imaginations.
9. Builds Confidence
Open-ended play creates an environment where kids feel safe to really express themselves and their ideas. It’s in this environment that they can make mistakes freely and then see that it was no big deal that they made a mistake. The more mistakes they make, the easier it becomes for them to make mistakes and the more confidence they have to keep going. They will see that their mistakes are crucial for getting to the endpoint they desire. This will empower them to feel the courage to make mistakes in other areas of life as well.
10. Prepares Children for the Future
A large part of most training programs for a new job includes role-playing. We know that role-playing is the single best way to set you up for success and prepare you for your new role. The same holds true for children.
Role-playing is a vital part of childhood that prepares them for the future. For example, a little girl playing with her dolls reinforces what she sees from other moms and prepares her to possibly be a mom herself someday. Fort building encourages all types of role-playing by your kids to reinforce behaviors and set them up for their future.
TinkerLab Blog: One of our favorite engineering blogs for children is TinkerLab. Have you ever visited the site? If not, you’ll definitely want to browse sometime soon. You will find loads of fun and inventive ideas for encouraging all things hands-on and engineering for kids. TinkerLab has fantastic Tinker Lab YouTube videos too!
Rave & Review Blog: The fun Rave & Review blog is where you’ll find loads of sharing on your favorite products for parents and grandparents all the way to newborns.
Twodaloo Blog: At the awesome Twodaloo blog you will find activities and information about early childhood development that you can use at home, in the classroom, or in the therapy setting.