A comparison of structured and free play, with valuable information about both.
Structured play, which is also called “guided play,” is generally geared toward preschoolers or those entering kindergarten. It consists of any game or activity that has a specific goal for a child to strive towards. This could be anything from motor skills (the coordination of muscles) to sensory skills, to things they will be learning in day care or preschool, such as the days of the week, or identifying their colors. Toys or activities that are used in structured play range from puzzles to music classes to follow-the-leader type games like “Simon Says”. Many parents and educators are advocates for structured play, claiming it gives children a sense of direction and varied skills. But is it really the best option for children when it comes to play time?