What is Open-Ended Play & Why is it Important?

One thing most children have in common is their creativeness and imagination. Sometimes, it takes parents a lot of thought to come up with ways to encourage the creativity of their children.

Open-ended play is the best opportunity for your child to develop their creative and imaginative skills. It also helps your child develop decision-making and problem-solving skills. Open-ended plays help with the intellectual development of children making them smarter and more independent than their peers.

What Is Open-Ended Play?

Children by nature are very inquisitive and they use their play experiences to explore and understand the world around them. We’ve all seen children sitting with an object and just exploring it. That’s exactly what open-ended play is – simply letting the child follow their imagination and just express their creativity however they choose.

As open-ended play is play without any set instruction, aim, boundary, or answer, it allows children to exercise their independence at an early age.

Importance of Open-Ended Play

Develop Child’s Imagination

Parents are used to telling their children what to do in most situations like drawing a cat or building a bridge with a set of playing blocks. However, this limits the child’s creativity and imagination.

While playing, the child will be more focused on doing it right like he was taught rather than allowing their creativity to soar and actually enjoy playtime. Open-ended play gives the child a chance to be as creative as possible, and this can be so exciting for them.

Encourages Independence

Without the rules and limitations of closed-ended play, your child is given the opportunity to make their own rules, leaving all the decision-making to them. Open-ended plays allow a child create or build something out of their imagination, allowing them to be creative leaders which further helps in developing the child’s decision-making skills.

Opens Children To New Ideas

With kids, fear of failure is the biggest limitation to learning. With open-ended play, there is no right or wrong answer making them less afraid to make mistakes. The independence and freedom the children experience during open-ended plays allow them to take risks and explore new ideas.

While playing, the child is less concerned about doing it right and actually enjoys playtime. It also helps children figure out what works and what doesn’t, allowing the child to learn from their mistakes.

Open-ended plays allow children to play without any concerns and allows them to be original and creative. While playing they can practice their drawing, writing, and other skills without them worrying about how right or wrong they are doing.

Open-Ended Play Materials

  1. Blocks
  2. Wooden figures
  3. Dolls
  4. Train sets
  5. Clay
  6. Cardboard boxes

Magnetic Tiles, Educational Toy

Include 44 small squares, 4 large squares, 4 windows, 24 small triangles, 16 medium triangles, 10 tall triangles, 2 car bases, 2 arches
Save on two full-featured Fire HD 10 tablets

Air Dry Clay for Kids

97-in-1 Clay Kit Set (36 Colors of Modeling Clay with 57 Molding Accessories & 3-Piece Tool Set)
 The perfect clay kits for professional artists or beginners

iBaseToy Animal Farm Playset

Animal Toys Set with Farm Animals Figures, Toy Barn House, Horse Stable and Tractor Toy.
Great for inspiring safe and creative pretend play for children

What to Do If Your Child Doesn’t Enjoy Open-Ended Plays

If your child has a lot of screen time and is used to playing with mechanical toys, he may be uninterested in playing with a train set, dolls, or blocks. We will provide you with tips to help your child enjoy open-ended plays.

  • Free time

Your child might not be engaging with open-ended toys because they’re not used to just exploring and entertaining themselves. Giving them more free time will allow them to find ways to keep boredom away and entertain themselves.

  • Play with them

If your child is uninterested in open-ended play, you can sit with them and show them different ways they can play with that toy.

  • Reduce their screen time

Reducing your child’s screen time will help them come up with different activities to stay entertained.


Be intentional about providing children with toys that let them make choices about play, and support them in strengthening their cognitive, language and social skills in the process. The most important thing during open-ended play is allowing your child to take control. This encourages them to bring out their inner artist and allows their imaginations to come to life. The options are endless!

Show full profile

Mind feeding is a blog for parents.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Mind Feeding
Register New Account
Reset Password