One of the most important types of creative activity for young children is creative play. Creative play is expressed when children engage in role-playing and imaginative play. Nothing reinforces the creative spirit and nourishes a child's soul more than providing large blocks of time to engage in spontaneous, self-directed play throughout the day. The opportunity to play freely is vital to their healthy development.
What are some of the ways we can encourage play in our classrooms? As caregivers, we must be careful to avoid dominating the play ourselves. Play should be the result of the children's ideas and not directed by the adult. Through play, we should try to foster children's abilities to express themselves. We should also try to help children base play on their own inspirations - not ours. Our goal is to stimulate play - not control it - and to encourage children's satisfaction in playing with each other.
Pay attention to play, plan for it, encourage it. Learn how to extend children's play through comments and questions. Stimulate creative ideas by encouraging children to come up with new and unusual uses of equipment. Try to remain open to new and original ideas, and encourage children to come up with more than one solution or answer. Be careful about over-restricting equipment and make sure to have play materials quickly available when children want them. Buy and use equipment in ways that encourage the use of imagination. Avoid toys and activities that spell everything out for the child and leave nothing to the imagination. Provide children with a good range and balance of equipment, and keep equipment exciting by changing it frequently or changing its location.
Article Source: http://www.pbs.org