Why Encourage Independent Play

Independent play is important for your child’s development. When you invest in Montessori toys and independent activities for your child, you encourage them to experiment and entertain themselves. While playtime with parents is good for children, they need to learn how to keep themselves busy and entertained without relying on others.

To help you learn about independent play, our experts at ExploraToy have compiled a list of six ways independent play benefits your child. We’ll also provide you with a list of five different types of toys that encourage healthy, independent play.

The Importance of Independent Play

Children gain a lot of benefits when they regularly spend time enjoying independent play. The following are six reasons why independent play is so important for your child.

  1. Independent play helps your child develop social independence.

Social independence is an important skill for your child, since there won’t always be someone around to entertain them. This gives them the ability to remain comfortable in all types of situations, even ones where they’re left alone.

  1. Independent play encourages calmness in your child.

When your child spends time playing alone, they’re encouraged to embrace calming practices and healthy self-regulation. Children who spend time playing independently will be better equipped to sooth themselves and regulate their emotions. If your child sees independent play as a good thing, they’re more likely to enjoy that time.

  1. Independent play teaches your child how to entertain themselves.

Your child can learn a lot about themselves and their own preferences when they take time to play independently. Some children might discover they have an interest in building things or solving puzzles. Others might find a passion for art. Regardless of what your child enjoys, independent play will teach them how to entertain themselves.

  1. Independent play fosters imagination and creativity.

Imagination and creativity are important for your child’s future success. These skills are difficult to teach, yet time spent playing alone will encourage your child to come up with creative solutions to fight their boredom.

  1. Independent play prepares children for school.

Many school activities will require your child to spend time alone. When your child knows how to spend time without one-on-one attention from an adult, they’re better prepared for school. Their independence will give them the tools they need to thrive.

  1. Independent play gives parents some downtime.

While the previous five points are ways independent play benefits your child, it’s important to remember that independent play benefits the parents as well. No matter how much you love spending time with your child, you need downtime to stay physically and mentally healthy enough to care for your child.

5 Toys That Encourage Independent Play

Many parents are overwhelmed by independent play because they aren’t sure where to start. To help you and your child get started with independent play, we’ve compiled a list of five great toys to help foster independence in your child.

  1. Puzzles

Puzzles are a great activity to help your child learn how to complete closed-ended activities on their own. If you’re looking for a great first puzzle for your preschool child, check out ExploraToy’s Wooden Knob Puzzle Animals 6-Set.

  1. Fine Motor Development Toys

These toys help your child develop fine motor skills. For example, ExploraToy’s Lace and Trace Shapes Toys Set is a great way for your child to practice lacing and unlacing objects. Since there are several ways to play with these toys, it can encourage longer periods of independent play.

  1. Coloring and Activity Books

Age-appropriate coloring and activity books are a great way to foster creativity during independent play. If your child prefers to create their own artwork, you can provide paper and coloring supplies for them to draw.

  1. Magnetic Mazes

Magnetic mazes and other lap activities are a great way to encourage independent play in waiting rooms and long car rides. ExploraToy’s Magnetic Wooden Puzzle Game 2 Sets are a great activity for younger children. Best of all, they’re durable enough to withstand frequent use.

  1. Construction Toys

Construction toys like blocks are great for open-ended play. These Montessori toys encourage your child to not only play independently, but engage in mindfulness while they do so. The repetitive actions of stacking and sorting are great for your child’s early development. As they grow, these toys also provide them with creativity and problem-solving skills.

Final Thoughts

Give your child more time and space for independent play. Not only will this be good for your child’s development, but it will give you a much-needed break. Whether you sit and relax or tend to other tasks, your child’s independent play frees you to do more.

At ExploraToy, we care about giving you the resources you need to foster healthy development in your child. Our high-quality wooden toys are sure to keep your children entertained in independent play for years to come. To get started on your child’s independent play adventure, shop our full selection here.