7 Essential Tips For Open Ended Play and Materials

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Open ended play opens up a world of endless possibilities and imagination.
Open ended play allows a child to explore the world around them and the consequences of their actions. It encourages a child to express themselves freely and creatively. In my post 14 Open Ended Materials For Toddler Play I provided an extensive list of materials you probably have around your home that could be used in open ended play. Today I am extending this list to include some wonderful items that you can purchase to extend the play happening in your home.

My 7 essential tips for Open Ended Play and Materials

  • Go outside. Your child engages all their senses in the outdoor environment. They will create imaginary worlds and they will use natural materials in creative and imaginative ways. Taking your child to the playground can become an open-ended play experience as playground equipment can be incorporated into imaginary play and games.
  • Collect items from nature. Rocks, stones, dirt, sand, shells, sticks, leaves, nuts and seeds.
  • There is possibility in the simple. The other day we received our weekly delivery of fresh fruit and vegetables in a large box. Once the box had been emptied the children eagerly grabbed it. First it was used as an easy chair, then it became a shared activity where one child sat in the box and another child pushed the box up and down the hallway. It now sits proudly in my bedroom as a dinosaur that lives in the water.
  • Create invitations to play. Each evening I set up a few play items for the children to discover in the morning and play with. I have also created little play scenes in the sandpit and on a shelf. There are lots of ideas over at The Imagination Tree and Childhood 101.

{Triple T Mum} 7 Essential Tips For Open Ended Play and Materials

  • Provide space and time. It takes time to create, explore and discover. I like to provide a good block of time for my children to engage in open-ended play.

{Triple T Mum} 7 Essential Tips For Open Ended Play and Materials

  • Look for open-ended materials like cardboard tubes, giant boxes, fasteners like tape and glue or empty cereal boxes. Also clay, wet sand, paint, blocks, loose parts…Check out our hugely popular post of must have open ended materials


ETSY Finds For Open Ended Play

wooden dishes

Wooden Play Dishes

Wood eggs


Wooden Eggs

wool castle
Wool Felt Toy Castle

doll family

Dollhouse family



Felt acorns

Felted acorns

I hope you have found this list helpful. You can see more open ended materials and toys here.

2 comments on “7 Essential Tips For Open Ended Play and Materials

  1. What a great post filled with so many great ideas. Thank you so much for including my story stones :).

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