What Makes A Child-Initiated Play

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• Child-initiated play
Child-initiated play is freely chosen by the child, and is under the control of the child. The child decides how to play, how long to sustain the play, what the play is about, and who to play with. There are many forms of play, but it is usually highly creative, open-ended and imaginative. It requires active engagement of the players, and can be deeply satisfying. It engages children’s bodies, minds and emotions. In playing, children can learn to interact with others and be part of a community, to experience and manage feelings, and to be in control and confident about themselves and their abilities. During this kind of play, they also tend to show high levels of concentration and perseverance at a play activity until they have achieved their goal.
Practitioners are aware that child-initiated
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The activities are not play, and children are likely not to see them as play, but they should be playful, interesting and meet their developmental needs – with activities presented to children which are as open-ended as possible, with elements of imagination and active exploration that will increase the interest and motivation for children. As well as focused activities with groups of children, adult-led activities can include greeting times, story times, songs and even tidying up.
The adult observes the children and decides what skills, concepts and knowledge they might need and organises an activity to support that. These activities help the children to explore new materials, resources, ideas and concepts that they might not freely select. They also develop children’s speech and build their vocabulary as they engage more with the adults.
Adult-led activities also help the children to enhance skills they already have but need more support with, and they can do this by incorporating these new skills into their own child-led play to confirm that they have mastered the
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