The Beauty of Open-Ended Toys.

My grand-daughter is already 5 (how did that happen so fast?) and lately she has been engaging in incredible play using open-ended toys and loose parts.  

"Open-ended toys are sometimes referred to as simple toys because they don't do anything.   They don't light up or make noises when a button is pushed."

 The child is free to use the toy in any way they choose.  Freedom of the imagination.  Freedom to create. 

As these play scenarios unfold for her there are a lot of details, ideas and verbal narration attached.  It is play but it is work.  She can fully immerse herself into these worlds she creates because these toys are so familiar to her.  

Open-ended toys are toys that have multiple uses. 

Scenario #1

Scenario #2

Some of the narrative that went along with this scenario is that there was a farm.  The farm was in the north and that is why there is a polar bear and a penguin there and a deer.  But the deer ran away.

The blocks are the house and the garage.  Only 6 people were allowed because that's how many cars would fit.  The cars are going hunting for the baby deer, called deery.  The one car had to get towed because it ran into a wall.

The cars had to get "partnered up" to go hunting for the deer.

"Open-ended toys result in open-ended play. This type of play can evolve over time while also encouraging children to create and problem-solve as they explore the world around them." 

Scenario #3

"Investing in a sturdy, high quality, open-ended toy may cost a bit more initially, but it will last longer and grow as your child grows. The fun of open-ended toys does not diminish over the years; the play is simply reinvented by children."  

"Open-ended toys, such as a set of blocks, a doll, or a toy truck will accompany your child over the years as they learn, grow, and play. When children dictate play, it can constantly be reinvented and play can become more creative and complex. In turn, the learning also becomes more complex, offering more learning opportunities."

I personally have had amazing success finding awesome open-ended toys in thrift stores and garage sales.  You can see some of our treasures in these pics.  Now vintage Fisher Price little people, camping vehicles and furniture.  When put together with fabric, glass gems, all sorts of animals and other vehicles, blocks, and nature items the stage is set for great play!


Here are some links to more Open-Ended Toy Articles.  The quotes in this blog post were borrowed from these articles.

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