Parents’ Guide to Structured vs Unstructured Play

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Through play children can develop important life skills that help prepare them for experiences later in life. There are two types of play: structured and unstructured. Structured play requires a child to follow directions or rules, and is guided by an adult. In unstructured play a child can do what interests them and there aren’t any guidelines set in place. Like most things in life, balance is key.

Toddlers should spend at least one hour each day in unstructured play and at least 30 each day in structured play. There is no such thing are too much play for babies and toddlers, because play is how children learn.

Visit the Pathways.org play page for more information about child development. All materials including videos are provided at no cost; no fees or charges may be associated with any of the Pathways.org materials without prior written approval.