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There’s nothing quite like seeing a child playing on their own or with others their age. When they have the ability to use their imagination and interact with whatever is in front of them, it’s one of the most refreshing, innocent, and interesting things to watch. 

Children make arts and crafts around a table. Learn how a therapist in Columbus can offer support with addressing free play in children's mental health. Search for therapy Columbus Ohio or "columbus ohio therapists" today.Structured play is important. Children thrive on routines, and giving them specific tasks and goals to accomplish through play can be beneficial. 

But don’t discount the incredible benefits of free play. It’s essential for children’s mental health and something your child should be participating in regularly.

So, take a breath, stop worrying about always providing some type of structure at playtime, and let’s dig a little deeper into the importance of free play. 

What Is Free Play?

Free play is exactly what it sounds like—an opportunity for children to experience full freedom during their playtime. They get to decide the materials they want to play with, the stories they want to act out, and how they want to bring things to life using their imagination. 

Free play doesn’t have a specific schedule, structure, or timeline. Your child might move from one toy to another quickly. They might use an object for something completely random that you might never think of. Or, they might come up with an idea that seems totally out of left field, but they stick with it for hours. 

That’s the beauty of allowing your kids to play freely, and it’s also why it’s so important. 

Why Is Free Play So Important?

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of letting your child experience free play is that it gives them the opportunity to use their imagination. That can inspire creative thinking—a characteristic that will benefit them in adulthood, too. 

Free play can also foster problem-solving and communication skills, making it easier for your child to overcome issues in the future by thinking things through rather than collapsing when something becomes overwhelming.

A close up of a notebook with the words emotional regulation. This could represent the help a therapist in Columbus can offer for children. Learn more about Columbus OH counseling by contacting Columbus Ohio therapists today.From a mental health standpoint, free play is important because it allows children to learn how to regulate their emotions. They might go through a rollercoaster of feelings while playing, from happiness and excitement to anger or frustration, and back again. 

It also helps children to become more emotionally aware, so they’re able to cope with stress and disappointment better than kids who might not get to experience unstructured play. 

What Are Examples of Free Play?

Aside from keeping your children safe and setting basic boundaries, the idea of free play is that there are no real “rules” as to how it should go. Your children are the ones who will bring toys, equipment, and stories to life when given the opportunity. 

Things like drawing, painting, dressing up, playing on playground equipment, or even reading books they enjoy can all be considered types of free play. As long as you’re not telling them how to interact with those things or influencing how they use their imagination, it’s unstructured and influential. Encourage them to play with what they’re naturally drawn to, but don’t force certain toys, equipment, or ideas upon them.

Don’t be afraid to let your child explore their world through free play.

There’s a time and place for structure. It can provide a sense of comfort and teach your child about being responsible and doing things at the proper time. 

A family holds hands while walking through a sunny park. Contact a therapist in Columbus to learn more about the help "therapy columbus ohio" can offer. Learn more about Columbus OH counseling today.But, if you want to foster the skills and healthy mental health habits they’ll need to manage their well-being as adults, now is the time to start. One of the best ways to do it is by letting them play freely. Step back and watch what they come up with. You’re likely to be pleasantly surprised and entertained!

Begin Working with A Therapist in Columbus, OH

The freedom of unfiltered play can offer many benefits for children. Our team of caring therapists would be happy to help you and your child learn new coping techniques and mental health habits. You can start your therapy journey with Blue Boat Counseling by following these simple steps:

  1. Contact Blue Boat Counseling by using the button below
  2. Meet with a caring therapist 
  3. Start supporting your child’s mental health!

Other Services Offered with Blue Boat Counseling

Our team knows that you may experience concerns with a variety of mental health concerns. This is why we are happy to offer a number of services including anxiety therapy, depression therapy, and military veteran therapy. We are also happy to offer teen and family therapy and online therapy across the state of Ohio. Visit our blog to learn more today for helpful info.