Thursday, April 1, 2010

Structured vs Free Play

Playgroups are a great way for new moms and dads to encourage child development while getting in a bit of socialization and a break for themselves. Children benefit a great deal, especially during the all-important and formative toddler years, from being able to interact and play with other kids their age. It helps teach the social skills necessary to be successful later in life by exposing them to a wide variety of personalities and situations. They learn sharing, patience, and also conflict resolution skills just to name a few of the many benefits. These groups can be run in many different ways, but primarily fall into two categories: structured and free play.

Both types of playgroups have their advantages. Therefore, parents have options with which both they and their children can feel most comfortable. Depending on what you wish your toddler to get out of a playgroup as well as their own likes and dislikes, one option might be better than another for your particular situation. However, it is important to keep in mind that just because your child might favor free play that they can also get a great amount of benefit from participating with groups offering more structured kids activities and vice versa. Exposing kids to a variety of social experiences is what is most important when it comes to child development.

When it comes to structured playgroups, parents typically take turns or else choose to collaborate planning various activities and kids' games. This kind of group ensures that kids will have a way to be engaged and also helps to develop skills that will be helpful in both other social settings as well as for when they start school. These groups, although more structured, still provide plenty of opportunities to play games and have fun.

Groups that offer free play are just as beneficial. Although for some moms and dads this can seem to be a recipe for chaos, it is actually important for child development to have the freedom to create new activities and to have the experience of socializing on their own. By encouraging creativity and social skills, these playgroups are a great way to provide variety to your child's day while allowing you the chance to socialize with other parents as well. Each type of group can provide tremendous benefits and are easy to start up or join one already organized by clubs or other groups.