Why free play is so important

People are always asking us about our Discover Electronics kit “So what can you do with it? or What does it make?” This NPR segment with Alix Spiegel really speaks to the Sparkle Labs’ design philosophy. Everyone with children should listen to it and read the great free play ideas in the left margin.

But during the second half of the 20th century, Chudacoff argues, play changed radically. Instead of spending their time in autonomous shifting make-believe, children were supplied with ever more specific toys for play and predetermined scripts. Essentially, instead of playing pirate with a tree branch they played Star Wars with a toy light saber. Chudacoff calls this the commercialization and co-optation of child’s play — a trend which begins to shrink the size of children’s imaginative space.

One play idea

Activities That Require Planning: Games with directions, patterns for construction, recipes for cooking, for instance.


Leave a Reply