Narrator (Catherine Sewell, play specialist): The best way to support your child’s play is to give them some time and some space, and I’m not talking about the ultimate space for play. Whatever space you have is good. What we need to think about is allowing children some unrestricted movement.
Even if we’ve got a very small area that we feel – OK, I feel confident enough that there’s no dangerous things in this room, I can allow my child to have some unrestricted time to play and explore in this space. And if you add something really simple like a cardboard box into that space, suddenly it’s not just a tiny lounge room. It’s a cubbyhouse for a doll. It’s a race car and they’re zooming down the highway. So, through their imagination, a small space can become all sorts of things if we give them that time and that sort of mental space really to transform whatever physical space you have into the world of play.
We just need to remember that kids need down time. They don’t need every single moment of their life to be scheduled. Ideally, we’re giving kids at least a few hours – I mean, depending on their age – to be playing freely. They need that totally unstructured time so that they can lead what they want to explore and do.