Open-ended play gives kids a chance to explore their world in ways that are often out of reach to them.
- Ingrid Simone, Toca Magazine Executive Editor
One of the hallmarks of Pure Play is that it’s open ended. Open-ended play experiences have the potential to engage us no matter what our age. But for little kids, especially, open-ended play offers a chance to explore their world in ways that are often out of reach to them, in part because of their age. Here are three reasons open-ended digital play experiences are great for young kids.
- 1. Empowerment. Little kids are used to being told what to do most of the day. Even when they have choices it’s often either-or (and both options are decided by adults). High-quality open-ended digital toys put kids in control of where they go, when they go there and what they’ll do when they get there. Kids can practice decision-making skills and see how their own actions affect their experience.
- 2. Opportunities for role play. Role play is one of the ways kids learn about their world, practice social skills, explore feelings, prepare for scary things or make sense of them afterward, and more — all in a safe, comfortable and fun way. High-quality open-ended digital toys give kids the freedom to explore roles without having a story imposed upon them; they can tailor the stories to their own experiences.
- 3. The thrill of exploration and discovery. In high-quality open-ended digital toys, kids aren’t focused on reaching a goal imposed by others. Instead, these toys allow kids to experience what it’s like to explore new areas and delight in the discovery of new things. Kids are motivated by their own curiosity; any goals are ones they set for themselves.
Young, old — it doesn’t matter. We all like to feel empowered, role play (who hasn’t talked through a difficult conversation in their mind beforehand?), and explore and discover new things. As adults, we expect to be able to experience these things on our terms. Open-ended digital play gives young kids the chance to experience these things on their own terms.