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How I fell in love with Open Ended Play

Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning. - Diane Ackerman

Children are naturally curious and there are no set rules in their world. I learnt this through my two year old who would play barefoot, smear food all over her face, scream and cry when she’s upset. She lives life loud and often tests boundaries. Why? Because in her world there are no set rules. It is through interaction and modeling after the people around her that she learns what rules and boundaries are.

Open Ended Play is right up a young child’s alley precisely because of this. There are no set rules and anything is possible! I love watching her play because she is so free and understanding the world through her lenses is intriguing.
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She picks up her favourite rainbow pebbles and begins sorting them into different bowls by colour. While doing that, she sees a measuring jug and picks it up. She totters to fill it up with some water and returns declaring she would like to make some soup! She pours the pebbles into the jug of water and uses a paintbrush to stir her soup. She beams, offers me her delicious home cooked soup, and laughs as I pretend to slurp it down loudly. With our tummies and hearts filled, we pack away the measuring jug and paintbrush together, and leave the pebbles out on the table to dry. The next evening, while she was making a zoo with her kor kor, she picks up her favourite rainbow pebbles again and makes a path for her animals to cross. "What will she use them for tomorrow?" I wondered.

Creativity is innate in every child and we as parents or educators have a role in encouraging and bringing that out. I believe this is especially important in the first 6 years of their life when their brains are like sponges. Make full use of this window by providing a conducive environment for them to play, learn and grow! Invest in quality open ended toys that spark infinite possibilities of play and learning. These toys are so versatile that children will always find new ways of playing with them!

So inspired by a certain little girl who can never keep her shoes on, I stepped into the fascinating world of open ended play and have never looked back since.
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Welcome to Barefoot Toys! We hope you enjoy your stay with us. No shoes, please :)