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Fine motor skills develop tremendously during childhood period. Schools provide children with activities and aquipments to promote them. What parents should know is, we can also help children to develop these skill at home. Parents maybe doubt of their capabilities to do that. But actually we do not need expensive equipments, complicated instruction, or certain place. It can be simple, fun, and cost effective.

First, we should understand “what is fine motor skills”?

Do you ever see your little children struggle to grasp foods? Or hold pencil properly? Or take their toys? Or buttoning their clothes? These task are the examples of fine motor skills. 

Trying to Grasp Fruits
While gross motor skills involve whole body movement and muscles (such as walking, running, jumping, climbing, throwing, and kicking) fine motor skills involves more particular area which are muscles of the hands. Both contribute children’s abilities to perform everyday skills needed, from basic self-care to academic activities. Gross motor skills enable children to sit, stand firmly, move around, endure, and navigate the enviroment. Whereas fine motor skills enact in activities that required deftness of the hands such as writing, drawing, colouring, cutting, fastening the buttons, sticthing, making braid, etc.

So how parents can help?

Children can develop fine motor skills naturally, but parents can encourage them to engage in activities that help to develop them. Amazingly, children find the ideas of these activities by themselves spontaneously. But how if the children did not initiate? You do not have to worry, because every children has their own ways to develop their skills. Parents can do the activity in front of them as model so the children can learn how to do it.

What parents see as ordinary or messy actions, turn out are ways to practice fine motor skills. For example is when children tear papers into pieces or squezze the papers. These action, even as how ruined books or wasted papers as they may seem, can build the hand muscle’s power. Imagine how many efforts they have to do to put powers and control their hands in order to do that actions.

Muscle Power: Tear, Squeeze, then Put Them into Glass
To avoid there will be ruined books, make sure that your valuable books or papers are kept out from children’s reach. Give them unused papers, newspapers, or books.

Spill Fruits into Her Glass
Other activities that children find fascinated them is moving objects. Eventhough it fascinate children, but it could be a very tough job also. They could struggle to grasp the objects they what to move or put the objects into the new place. Moving objects can be opportunity for children to develop their hand’s control and accuracy. We can use objects or equipments that already we have in our house. Like put the wasted papers to basket, transfering water with glass, spoon, or pipette. We can also use schools utensil such as moving pencil into another box.

Transitioning Water 
Put It Back into The Glass
We can also use food ingredients, fruits, or vegetables as material and equipment. Such as moving fruits from one plate to another, tearing vegetable leaves, or just simply pick foods from their plate.

Put Pencils into The Box
Another idea is insert coin or paper into the moneybox. We can also modify to make holes in boxes, jars, or containers so children can insert objects into them. For younger children, make sure this activity under your supervision so there will be no incidents like eat up the coins or papers. Especially for children that still in oral phase.

The Struggle is Real

Insert Coins Into Moneybox
The struggle is real to do this action for younger children. As adult we have to make sure the activities are achievable for children to do it. Put no pressure to the children and make the process to be fun.

We also do not need certain time or place to conduct the activities. Whenever and wherever children want to do these activities, allow them. As long the safety can be assured and parents can clean up the children post activities.

(Novita)

Reference
Kidsense. (2017). Fine Motor Skilss.  Accessed through https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/fine-motor-skills/fine-motor-skills/

Fine Motor Skills Activities for Children

12/03/18


Fine motor skills develop tremendously during childhood period. Schools provide children with activities and aquipments to promote them. What parents should know is, we can also help children to develop these skill at home. Parents maybe doubt of their capabilities to do that. But actually we do not need expensive equipments, complicated instruction, or certain place. It can be simple, fun, and cost effective.

First, we should understand “what is fine motor skills”?

Do you ever see your little children struggle to grasp foods? Or hold pencil properly? Or take their toys? Or buttoning their clothes? These task are the examples of fine motor skills. 

Trying to Grasp Fruits
While gross motor skills involve whole body movement and muscles (such as walking, running, jumping, climbing, throwing, and kicking) fine motor skills involves more particular area which are muscles of the hands. Both contribute children’s abilities to perform everyday skills needed, from basic self-care to academic activities. Gross motor skills enable children to sit, stand firmly, move around, endure, and navigate the enviroment. Whereas fine motor skills enact in activities that required deftness of the hands such as writing, drawing, colouring, cutting, fastening the buttons, sticthing, making braid, etc.

So how parents can help?

Children can develop fine motor skills naturally, but parents can encourage them to engage in activities that help to develop them. Amazingly, children find the ideas of these activities by themselves spontaneously. But how if the children did not initiate? You do not have to worry, because every children has their own ways to develop their skills. Parents can do the activity in front of them as model so the children can learn how to do it.

What parents see as ordinary or messy actions, turn out are ways to practice fine motor skills. For example is when children tear papers into pieces or squezze the papers. These action, even as how ruined books or wasted papers as they may seem, can build the hand muscle’s power. Imagine how many efforts they have to do to put powers and control their hands in order to do that actions.

Muscle Power: Tear, Squeeze, then Put Them into Glass
To avoid there will be ruined books, make sure that your valuable books or papers are kept out from children’s reach. Give them unused papers, newspapers, or books.

Spill Fruits into Her Glass
Other activities that children find fascinated them is moving objects. Eventhough it fascinate children, but it could be a very tough job also. They could struggle to grasp the objects they what to move or put the objects into the new place. Moving objects can be opportunity for children to develop their hand’s control and accuracy. We can use objects or equipments that already we have in our house. Like put the wasted papers to basket, transfering water with glass, spoon, or pipette. We can also use schools utensil such as moving pencil into another box.

Transitioning Water 
Put It Back into The Glass
We can also use food ingredients, fruits, or vegetables as material and equipment. Such as moving fruits from one plate to another, tearing vegetable leaves, or just simply pick foods from their plate.

Put Pencils into The Box
Another idea is insert coin or paper into the moneybox. We can also modify to make holes in boxes, jars, or containers so children can insert objects into them. For younger children, make sure this activity under your supervision so there will be no incidents like eat up the coins or papers. Especially for children that still in oral phase.

The Struggle is Real

Insert Coins Into Moneybox
The struggle is real to do this action for younger children. As adult we have to make sure the activities are achievable for children to do it. Put no pressure to the children and make the process to be fun.

We also do not need certain time or place to conduct the activities. Whenever and wherever children want to do these activities, allow them. As long the safety can be assured and parents can clean up the children post activities.

(Novita)

Reference
Kidsense. (2017). Fine Motor Skilss.  Accessed through https://childdevelopment.com.au/areas-of-concern/fine-motor-skills/fine-motor-skills/


For children, reading can make them live their imagination. As adults we can remember the time our parents read stories or books for us. During that time, we also imagine about the stories we’ve been told. Like “how a sleeping beauty is look like?”, “what are super power a fairy has?” or “how strong a super hero could be?”. Every story that we have been listened or read, encourages our imagination.

Reading lit up imagination

Books compete with various gadgets nowadays. Gadgets more vibrant and enthusiastic visually and in audio. They engage children attention immensely. Now compare with books, only books with pictures that seem interesting for children. Mostly, children only pay attention in pages that contain pictures. But that is the nature of children. They love vibrant colours and pictures. And book do really have serious competitors in  this currents time. How often will children read books if they do not take interest in it?

We do aggree with statement: do not give pressure to young child to be able to read. Reading skill should be taught based on children readiness and development. But reading is not all about able to read the words. Indeed, reading is one of the key skills to learn subjects. But not only that. By reading, we can gain informations, knowledges, experiences, and insights (Wahyuni, 2009). Reading can form one’s point of view and responses toward their life events. So it is important since it could play signifince role in our life.

Reading is a habit that started before children can read. Reading habit does not emerge automatically. It is formed (Pujiastuti, 2010). How do we help them to form it?
  1. Make children familiar with books from early age. Reading interest can be stimulated from the time children were born. In the age of 0-2 years, children’s brain develop rapidly. Around 80% of our brain capacity formed in this period. Children also very receptive in this time, they can absorb everything with strong memory. We can introduce books from this time, make books as their “friends”. Choose books that have bright colours and made from materials that not easily torn, then present to them. Of course the books will be a toy for them, but they will recognize book as fun experience they can choose. Not only playing with dolls, car, or sands, they also indentify reading as fun as those play activities. We can also put books in display, so they feel books are something close to them.
    Set up environmet that make children familiar with books
  2. Give age-appropriate books. It is not relevant to give children text books since children more eager to engange books with full colours, lots of drawings, and lot of pictures. Older children, especially those who already read fluently, are capable to read more text or long stories.
    Children in early age interested in pictures, vibrant colours, contrast colours, and texture (picture from here)
  3. Storytelling or read aloud with children. It is important that children enjoy reading activities. To make it fun, we can read them with storytelling way. In dynamic tone, role play, various expression, sing, and converse of what we read. With the child that already able to read, we can read along with them or make a role play of the story with them.
  4. Give example. Children memorize and imitate what their parents do. Read regularly. Not only books of course, like newspapers or other sources that improve our knowledge. It can lit their love for reading.



(Laelatus Syifa S. A. & Novita)


References

Pujiastuti, A. (2010). Reading Interest Improvement Among Early Age Children through Story with Pictures in Griup B Dharma Putera II Genukharjo Kindergaten. Thesis. University of Muhammadiyah Surakarta.

Wahyuni, S. (2009). Stimulate Reading Interest for Literate Society. Diksi 16 (2). https://journal.uny.ac.id/index.php/diksi/article/view/6617



Reading Can Be Fun Activity for Children

12/02/18


For children, reading can make them live their imagination. As adults we can remember the time our parents read stories or books for us. During that time, we also imagine about the stories we’ve been told. Like “how a sleeping beauty is look like?”, “what are super power a fairy has?” or “how strong a super hero could be?”. Every story that we have been listened or read, encourages our imagination.

Reading lit up imagination

Books compete with various gadgets nowadays. Gadgets more vibrant and enthusiastic visually and in audio. They engage children attention immensely. Now compare with books, only books with pictures that seem interesting for children. Mostly, children only pay attention in pages that contain pictures. But that is the nature of children. They love vibrant colours and pictures. And book do really have serious competitors in  this currents time. How often will children read books if they do not take interest in it?

We do aggree with statement: do not give pressure to young child to be able to read. Reading skill should be taught based on children readiness and development. But reading is not all about able to read the words. Indeed, reading is one of the key skills to learn subjects. But not only that. By reading, we can gain informations, knowledges, experiences, and insights (Wahyuni, 2009). Reading can form one’s point of view and responses toward their life events. So it is important since it could play signifince role in our life.

Reading is a habit that started before children can read. Reading habit does not emerge automatically. It is formed (Pujiastuti, 2010). How do we help them to form it?
  1. Make children familiar with books from early age. Reading interest can be stimulated from the time children were born. In the age of 0-2 years, children’s brain develop rapidly. Around 80% of our brain capacity formed in this period. Children also very receptive in this time, they can absorb everything with strong memory. We can introduce books from this time, make books as their “friends”. Choose books that have bright colours and made from materials that not easily torn, then present to them. Of course the books will be a toy for them, but they will recognize book as fun experience they can choose. Not only playing with dolls, car, or sands, they also indentify reading as fun as those play activities. We can also put books in display, so they feel books are something close to them.
    Set up environmet that make children familiar with books
  2. Give age-appropriate books. It is not relevant to give children text books since children more eager to engange books with full colours, lots of drawings, and lot of pictures. Older children, especially those who already read fluently, are capable to read more text or long stories.
    Children in early age interested in pictures, vibrant colours, contrast colours, and texture (picture from here)
  3. Storytelling or read aloud with children. It is important that children enjoy reading activities. To make it fun, we can read them with storytelling way. In dynamic tone, role play, various expression, sing, and converse of what we read. With the child that already able to read, we can read along with them or make a role play of the story with them.
  4. Give example. Children memorize and imitate what their parents do. Read regularly. Not only books of course, like newspapers or other sources that improve our knowledge. It can lit their love for reading.



(Laelatus Syifa S. A. & Novita)


References

Pujiastuti, A. (2010). Reading Interest Improvement Among Early Age Children through Story with Pictures in Griup B Dharma Putera II Genukharjo Kindergaten. Thesis. University of Muhammadiyah Surakarta.

Wahyuni, S. (2009). Stimulate Reading Interest for Literate Society. Diksi 16 (2). https://journal.uny.ac.id/index.php/diksi/article/view/6617



Do you have difficulties to manage cooking time? A short time to prepare the foods while children need some attentions, is situation that often found in family daily life. Especially with baby or toddler in it. If take children to sleep were not the option, then we can give children some activities that keep them busy.

What kind of activity?

You can give your children time to take free play. Let them choose whatever play or toy they want to do. But it is not always the solution, isn’t? Children can be easily bored by their already ‘played for many times’ activities or toys.

If these are the cases, just try to involve the children into the kitchen activities. Is it dangerous? Of course parents can put the safety first. To do this, other than make the activities under our supervision, we should also consider age appropriate task and equipments.  

Age appropriate task: tear vegetable leaves
For 2-3 years old children we can supervise them to rinse vegetable (or fruit), tear vegetable, pour ingredients, mold, or simply give them small amount of vegetables to do whatever they want to do. For children age 4-6, we can give them opportunity to measure ingredients, cut with age approriate knife (butter knife or specially made knife), pour, mix, peeling skinny food (egg, fruit, banana, etc), and serve foods in simple way.


Develop motoric skills: making the dough
For older children, they can be more independent to read and follow the recipes. They also can select ingredients and use various kitchen equipments. If they ready, we can also give them opportunity to help wash the dishes.

Age appropriate cooking and baking activities, positively influence children. A  research about programmed cooking activities in schools showed that cooking programs can influence children’s food-related preferences. Such as preference toward vegetables and fruits lead to more healthy foods and habits (Hersch, Perdue, Ambroz, & Boucher, 2014). But cooking or baking at home doesn’t has to be programmed or structured. We can just go with the flow, looking forward what ingredients are available and what activities can be engage.

Cooking and baking activities set opportunity for bonding between children and parents, strenghten by interaction throughout the activities. Children can feel and memorize them as fun experience with their parents. These activities also can serve a fun way to train children to follow direction and gain confindence. The mastery of cooking or baking skills can boost their self-efficacy, that believe that they can (Leslie&Barbara, 2013). But do not expect children to do the job perfectly or nearly well as adults. Praise them for their effort and intention to help.

Identifying shapes: mould dough into pieces with shapes

Cooking and baking activities also serve a great way to develop children’s fine motoric skills. For examples through tear spinach leaves, crack eggs, and mould dough. Children also can learn about taste, smell, colour, and shape since they encounter directly with various vegetables, fruits, and ingredients. Basic mathematics can be taught also through measure the ingredients, count fish, and count donuts that have been made.

Counting: How many donats will we make?

And guess what? We can also explain about science! There are so many real life example of science in kitchen activities. The change of colour, the swell of dough, create colour from other colours mixture, and the change of food forms. We can explain how these phenomena can happen. We can explain in simple way for younger children, fitting their understanding.

It is an idea that not too difficult we can attempt to. We do not need expensive materials or tools. We can use what we have in our kitchen and ask children what activities they want to do. So, let's cook kids!


(Novita)

References

Hersch, D., Perdue, L., Ambroz, T. & Boucher, J. L. (2014). The Impact of Cooking Classes on Food-Related Preferences, Attitudes, and Behaviors of School-Aged Children: A Systematic Review of The Evidence, 2003-2014. Preventing Chronic Disease 2014. 11. 140267. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/ped11.140267.

Leslie, C.S.& Lohse, B. (2013). Cooking with Kids Positively Affects Fouth Graders’ Vegetable Preferences and Attitudes and Self-Efficacy for Food and Cooking. Childhood Obesity 2013. 9 (6): 549-556. https://doi.org/10.1089/chi.2013.0076.

The Advantages of Cooking and Baking with Children at Home

11/02/18

Do you have difficulties to manage cooking time? A short time to prepare the foods while children need some attentions, is situation that often found in family daily life. Especially with baby or toddler in it. If take children to sleep were not the option, then we can give children some activities that keep them busy.

What kind of activity?

You can give your children time to take free play. Let them choose whatever play or toy they want to do. But it is not always the solution, isn’t? Children can be easily bored by their already ‘played for many times’ activities or toys.

If these are the cases, just try to involve the children into the kitchen activities. Is it dangerous? Of course parents can put the safety first. To do this, other than make the activities under our supervision, we should also consider age appropriate task and equipments.  

Age appropriate task: tear vegetable leaves
For 2-3 years old children we can supervise them to rinse vegetable (or fruit), tear vegetable, pour ingredients, mold, or simply give them small amount of vegetables to do whatever they want to do. For children age 4-6, we can give them opportunity to measure ingredients, cut with age approriate knife (butter knife or specially made knife), pour, mix, peeling skinny food (egg, fruit, banana, etc), and serve foods in simple way.


Develop motoric skills: making the dough
For older children, they can be more independent to read and follow the recipes. They also can select ingredients and use various kitchen equipments. If they ready, we can also give them opportunity to help wash the dishes.

Age appropriate cooking and baking activities, positively influence children. A  research about programmed cooking activities in schools showed that cooking programs can influence children’s food-related preferences. Such as preference toward vegetables and fruits lead to more healthy foods and habits (Hersch, Perdue, Ambroz, & Boucher, 2014). But cooking or baking at home doesn’t has to be programmed or structured. We can just go with the flow, looking forward what ingredients are available and what activities can be engage.

Cooking and baking activities set opportunity for bonding between children and parents, strenghten by interaction throughout the activities. Children can feel and memorize them as fun experience with their parents. These activities also can serve a fun way to train children to follow direction and gain confindence. The mastery of cooking or baking skills can boost their self-efficacy, that believe that they can (Leslie&Barbara, 2013). But do not expect children to do the job perfectly or nearly well as adults. Praise them for their effort and intention to help.

Identifying shapes: mould dough into pieces with shapes

Cooking and baking activities also serve a great way to develop children’s fine motoric skills. For examples through tear spinach leaves, crack eggs, and mould dough. Children also can learn about taste, smell, colour, and shape since they encounter directly with various vegetables, fruits, and ingredients. Basic mathematics can be taught also through measure the ingredients, count fish, and count donuts that have been made.

Counting: How many donats will we make?

And guess what? We can also explain about science! There are so many real life example of science in kitchen activities. The change of colour, the swell of dough, create colour from other colours mixture, and the change of food forms. We can explain how these phenomena can happen. We can explain in simple way for younger children, fitting their understanding.

It is an idea that not too difficult we can attempt to. We do not need expensive materials or tools. We can use what we have in our kitchen and ask children what activities they want to do. So, let's cook kids!


(Novita)

References

Hersch, D., Perdue, L., Ambroz, T. & Boucher, J. L. (2014). The Impact of Cooking Classes on Food-Related Preferences, Attitudes, and Behaviors of School-Aged Children: A Systematic Review of The Evidence, 2003-2014. Preventing Chronic Disease 2014. 11. 140267. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/ped11.140267.

Leslie, C.S.& Lohse, B. (2013). Cooking with Kids Positively Affects Fouth Graders’ Vegetable Preferences and Attitudes and Self-Efficacy for Food and Cooking. Childhood Obesity 2013. 9 (6): 549-556. https://doi.org/10.1089/chi.2013.0076.
In our previous article about Outdoor Play, we talked about the benefits of unstructured play. Maybe it raised some questions among the readers. Such as: does it mean that unstructured play better than structured play?

Eventhough there are researches showed that unstructured play has many benefits, structured play has it own significance role for children development. What are the differences and what impact do they give?

Structured Play

In structured play, adults set up goals, rules, instruction, place, and time the play are conducted. We can find structured play in the form of soccer, gymastic, swimming sport, Lego theme set, card games, etc. In the structured continuum, there is also guided play. Guided play can be done by setting up environment and objects that prompt children to experience new things. Adults can have role as co-player, inquiring children activities, giving advices, and encouraging further exploration (White, 2012).

Bakiak Game (photo from Segara)

Structured play usually created to foster certain skill such as logic, coordination, and body movement.  Prowse (2015) explained that these body movement skills called ABCs.





Not only body movement skills that encouraged in structured play, but also problem solving, resilience, working in team, and active listening. Children who succes to master the skills that had been planned, can feel confidence and competence. In some extend, children that have natural talent in the sport or field and/or practice it continously , can boost their skill to the crafty level. But children also can fall in failure feeling if they can not manage to build something or conduct the activities successfully. It can affect their feeling of worth and efficacy (Playground Center, 2015).

Structured play also give great contribution in learning. Children can learn subjects in fun way and they can totally active in it. Therapy for children mostly (if we can not say all of them), also involve play as the media. Some in form of structured play.

Unstructured Play

As we have explained it in the article before, we give brief overview about unstructured play.

There is no plan, rules, and instruction conducted by adults in unstructured play or often called as free play. It is totally children’s will that lead the play it self. It involve creative work and improvisation by the children. Children can choose any objects they want to play with or to build. They also can choose to play without equipment at all. They can just running, jumping, giggling, or hopping.



It seems that children learn nothing, but actually when they are enganging free play they are improving their imaginative and creative thinking. Children learn from scratch and there is no limit for them to explore. Free play allow children to gain control and make mistakes. The interaction with friends during play time also help children to communicate, express themselves, solve problem,  and emphatize.

Free Play (photo from Matthew Brownig)

Joy Is The Key
We come to realize that both form of play essentially influence children development. Children can gain benefits from both. Parents can attempt to find balance. Here is what parents can try to (Prowse, 2015):

  • Give children time to engage in free play everyday.
  • If they spend most their time indoor, then we can encourage them to play in outdoor.
  • Give them space and authority to choose what they want to play. It could be free play they want to do or they choose strcutured play such as soccer, card, or badminton they end up choose.
  • Try to understand the children character, strength, weakness, and interest. Parents can list various structured play that can improve them. Ask their opinion about this and whether they interested to engange one or several activities or not.
  • When children engage in structured play, make sure that parents and other adults in the environment do not put any pressure in them. Especially in younger children. Make a supportive communication, including with their friends. That the happiness, process, and team work (if there is any) are more important than the result itself.
  • Always consider the joy that children seek in play activities, whether structured or unstructured play. If there is no enjoyment in it, then they can not actively engage in the activity. Whatever the goal planned, will difficut to achieve if the children do not interested. Always make pleasurable interaction and environment for them. If there is no fun then it is not play.

Novita

References

Playground Center. (2015). Unstructured vs Structured Play. Accessed through https://www.playgroundcentre.com/unstructured-vs-structured-play/.

Prowse, S. (2015). Make Time For Play: How To Balance Structured And Unstructured Play. Accessed through http://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/free-play-in-a-structured-world-how-to-balance-structured-and-unstructured.


White, R. E. (2012). The Power of Play:A Research Summary on Play and Learning. St. Paul: Minnesota Children’s Museum

Finding Balance Between Structured and Unstructured Play

In our previous article about Outdoor Play, we talked about the benefits of unstructured play. Maybe it raised some questions among the readers. Such as: does it mean that unstructured play better than structured play?

Eventhough there are researches showed that unstructured play has many benefits, structured play has it own significance role for children development. What are the differences and what impact do they give?

Structured Play

In structured play, adults set up goals, rules, instruction, place, and time the play are conducted. We can find structured play in the form of soccer, gymastic, swimming sport, Lego theme set, card games, etc. In the structured continuum, there is also guided play. Guided play can be done by setting up environment and objects that prompt children to experience new things. Adults can have role as co-player, inquiring children activities, giving advices, and encouraging further exploration (White, 2012).

Bakiak Game (photo from Segara)

Structured play usually created to foster certain skill such as logic, coordination, and body movement.  Prowse (2015) explained that these body movement skills called ABCs.





Not only body movement skills that encouraged in structured play, but also problem solving, resilience, working in team, and active listening. Children who succes to master the skills that had been planned, can feel confidence and competence. In some extend, children that have natural talent in the sport or field and/or practice it continously , can boost their skill to the crafty level. But children also can fall in failure feeling if they can not manage to build something or conduct the activities successfully. It can affect their feeling of worth and efficacy (Playground Center, 2015).

Structured play also give great contribution in learning. Children can learn subjects in fun way and they can totally active in it. Therapy for children mostly (if we can not say all of them), also involve play as the media. Some in form of structured play.

Unstructured Play

As we have explained it in the article before, we give brief overview about unstructured play.

There is no plan, rules, and instruction conducted by adults in unstructured play or often called as free play. It is totally children’s will that lead the play it self. It involve creative work and improvisation by the children. Children can choose any objects they want to play with or to build. They also can choose to play without equipment at all. They can just running, jumping, giggling, or hopping.



It seems that children learn nothing, but actually when they are enganging free play they are improving their imaginative and creative thinking. Children learn from scratch and there is no limit for them to explore. Free play allow children to gain control and make mistakes. The interaction with friends during play time also help children to communicate, express themselves, solve problem,  and emphatize.

Free Play (photo from Matthew Brownig)

Joy Is The Key
We come to realize that both form of play essentially influence children development. Children can gain benefits from both. Parents can attempt to find balance. Here is what parents can try to (Prowse, 2015):

  • Give children time to engage in free play everyday.
  • If they spend most their time indoor, then we can encourage them to play in outdoor.
  • Give them space and authority to choose what they want to play. It could be free play they want to do or they choose strcutured play such as soccer, card, or badminton they end up choose.
  • Try to understand the children character, strength, weakness, and interest. Parents can list various structured play that can improve them. Ask their opinion about this and whether they interested to engange one or several activities or not.
  • When children engage in structured play, make sure that parents and other adults in the environment do not put any pressure in them. Especially in younger children. Make a supportive communication, including with their friends. That the happiness, process, and team work (if there is any) are more important than the result itself.
  • Always consider the joy that children seek in play activities, whether structured or unstructured play. If there is no enjoyment in it, then they can not actively engage in the activity. Whatever the goal planned, will difficut to achieve if the children do not interested. Always make pleasurable interaction and environment for them. If there is no fun then it is not play.

Novita

References

Playground Center. (2015). Unstructured vs Structured Play. Accessed through https://www.playgroundcentre.com/unstructured-vs-structured-play/.

Prowse, S. (2015). Make Time For Play: How To Balance Structured And Unstructured Play. Accessed through http://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/free-play-in-a-structured-world-how-to-balance-structured-and-unstructured.


White, R. E. (2012). The Power of Play:A Research Summary on Play and Learning. St. Paul: Minnesota Children’s Museum


Play motivates children to move and explore new experiences. Children engage in play activities because of the fun, jolly, and enjoyment. Play improve health and motor development. Researches showed that play can increase children physical activities.

picture from here

Outdoor play, in natural environment especially, can reduce obesity risk in children. Because children physical activities increase along with the outdoor play they engange. Canadian children aged 7-11 years old were interviewed, the result showed that physical activities play seen as better activity than those which do not involve physical movement.

Some adults arrange activities for children in structured play. Structured play is planned in spesific place and scheduled, also has specific regulation. The examples of structured play are card, puzzle, soccer, tennis, etc.

Outdoor plays can be a form of unstructured play, which is unplanned and spontaneous. It can happen anytime and anywhere, all the ideas of play come from the children themselves. Such as colouring, drawing in blank sheet, role playing with dolls, making miniature with their own ways, running around, etc. The time children take in unstructured play, is the time they build their own goals. According to American Academy of Pediatric, children usually prefer unstructured activities. National Association for Sport and Physical Education suggest preschool aged children to engage in unstructured play at least one hour (more would be better) per day.

A natural place to engage these unstructured play is great choice to improve health, development, and the play itself. Nature serves various choice of play that suitable for children age and competencies. In nature, children are free to choose and iniatiate their imagination. With so many natural material they can create their own enjoyment. Trees, bushes, water, stones, and sand, also sun, wind and wind can increase children involvement in their play activities. Nature can not be replaced with other materials.

picture from here

Unstructured outdoor plays are great opportunities for children to manage their own control. It allows children to learn about themselves, what they do like or not. Even when they can not perform or make something, they do not need to feel failed or pressured by certain rules.

The type of play that children enjoy depends on children's own preferences, competencies, and their developmental phase. Few children maybe choose to engage in imaginary play, other children group choose physical play. Family also contribute to how children play. Some family factors are rules and customs in the family.

Outdoor play is combination of body movement, light, and different kind of activities. The benefits are not limited as stated above. Outdoor play also affects chidren social development in positive way. Children can meet their friends and interact with them. Sometimes they laugh in merry, sometimes they face conflict. How they learn to solve these kinds of interaction, is a way to develop their social skill.  Other benefit from outdoor play is the opportunity to develop children gross motor skill such as climbing, hanging, kicking, and walking.

picture from here

What adults should always remember is to consider children’s happines, merry, choices, and freedom in a play activity. If these criterias were not met, then it is not a play anymore.

Laelatus Syifa Sari Agustina

References
Herrington, S., & Brussoni, M. (2015). Beyond Physical Activity: The Importance of Play and Natures-Based Play Spaces for Children's Health and Development. Economy and Environment (I Janssen, Section Editor) .

Remmers, T., Broeren, S. M., Renders, C. M., Hirasing, R. A., Grieken, A. V., & Raat, H. (n.d.). A Longitudinal Study of Children's Outside Play Using Family Environment and PerceivedPhysical Environment as Predictor. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity .

Rock, A. (2017). Unstructured Play. Accesed through https://www.verywell.com/unstructured-play-2764971


Outdoor Play

08/01/18



Play motivates children to move and explore new experiences. Children engage in play activities because of the fun, jolly, and enjoyment. Play improve health and motor development. Researches showed that play can increase children physical activities.

picture from here

Outdoor play, in natural environment especially, can reduce obesity risk in children. Because children physical activities increase along with the outdoor play they engange. Canadian children aged 7-11 years old were interviewed, the result showed that physical activities play seen as better activity than those which do not involve physical movement.

Some adults arrange activities for children in structured play. Structured play is planned in spesific place and scheduled, also has specific regulation. The examples of structured play are card, puzzle, soccer, tennis, etc.

Outdoor plays can be a form of unstructured play, which is unplanned and spontaneous. It can happen anytime and anywhere, all the ideas of play come from the children themselves. Such as colouring, drawing in blank sheet, role playing with dolls, making miniature with their own ways, running around, etc. The time children take in unstructured play, is the time they build their own goals. According to American Academy of Pediatric, children usually prefer unstructured activities. National Association for Sport and Physical Education suggest preschool aged children to engage in unstructured play at least one hour (more would be better) per day.

A natural place to engage these unstructured play is great choice to improve health, development, and the play itself. Nature serves various choice of play that suitable for children age and competencies. In nature, children are free to choose and iniatiate their imagination. With so many natural material they can create their own enjoyment. Trees, bushes, water, stones, and sand, also sun, wind and wind can increase children involvement in their play activities. Nature can not be replaced with other materials.

picture from here

Unstructured outdoor plays are great opportunities for children to manage their own control. It allows children to learn about themselves, what they do like or not. Even when they can not perform or make something, they do not need to feel failed or pressured by certain rules.

The type of play that children enjoy depends on children's own preferences, competencies, and their developmental phase. Few children maybe choose to engage in imaginary play, other children group choose physical play. Family also contribute to how children play. Some family factors are rules and customs in the family.

Outdoor play is combination of body movement, light, and different kind of activities. The benefits are not limited as stated above. Outdoor play also affects chidren social development in positive way. Children can meet their friends and interact with them. Sometimes they laugh in merry, sometimes they face conflict. How they learn to solve these kinds of interaction, is a way to develop their social skill.  Other benefit from outdoor play is the opportunity to develop children gross motor skill such as climbing, hanging, kicking, and walking.

picture from here

What adults should always remember is to consider children’s happines, merry, choices, and freedom in a play activity. If these criterias were not met, then it is not a play anymore.

Laelatus Syifa Sari Agustina

References
Herrington, S., & Brussoni, M. (2015). Beyond Physical Activity: The Importance of Play and Natures-Based Play Spaces for Children's Health and Development. Economy and Environment (I Janssen, Section Editor) .

Remmers, T., Broeren, S. M., Renders, C. M., Hirasing, R. A., Grieken, A. V., & Raat, H. (n.d.). A Longitudinal Study of Children's Outside Play Using Family Environment and PerceivedPhysical Environment as Predictor. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity .

Rock, A. (2017). Unstructured Play. Accesed through https://www.verywell.com/unstructured-play-2764971


Our Team

Children development enthusiats. We may not the most expert ones, just try to share our thoughts. Further discussion very welcomed.

Novita
Aspiring Writer and Psychologist

Co-Authors

A blogger and freelance writer. Interested in children development and psychological research especially in mental health screening instruments. Based in Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia. Email: novita0111@gmail.com

Laelatus Syifa Sari Agustina
Psychologist and Lecturer based in Solo, Central Java

Co-Authors

A nature lover and mountain climber. Graduated master degree from University of Gadjah Mada. Interested in psychodrama, art therapy, and mental health issues in society. Email: laelatussyifa.sa@gmail.com

Devita Septiani Nursalim
Psychologist and Lecturer based in Jakarta

Associate Psychologist

Experienced psychologist in I/O and college teaching. Graduated master degree from University of Gadjah Mada. Main interest in children development. Email: devitanursalim@gmail.com

Mistety Oktaviana
Psychologist and Lecturer based in Jakarta

Associate Psychologist

A dedicated lecturer and got bunch of experiences in psycholocal assessment. Graduated master degree from University of Gadjah Mada. Main interest in clinical child and adult psychology. Email: mistety.oktaviana@gmail.com

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