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At The Creative Toy Shop, we emphasis learning through play using creative open-ended toys.

As a qualified teacher, home school educator and parent of two young children, I have seen the benefits of play first-hand and the need for creative toys to help children develop.

A child’s natural mode of learning and expression is play. It allows them to explore their world, express feelings, it stimulates creativity and develops their confidence. Different types of play help to engage a child’s physical, emotional and social development.

This is one of the main reasons why play-based learning has been at the forefront of early childhood learning in Australia for many years now.

You might be asking yourself what is creative open-ended play?

Creative open-ended play is unstructured, and child led. There are no instructions nor does the parent/carer sit there directing the child. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with open-ended play.

Instead by using open-ended materials and toys like wooden blocks, playdough, beads, sensory materials, crafts and other loose parts, you provide children with the tools for imaginative play.

Encouraging your child to play with open-ended materials allows them to use their creative skills to experiment and problem solve. It assists their brain to develop creative and critical thinking. Open-ended play provides them with the opportunity to make decisions on their own, in a world where most decisions are made for them.

Open-ended play is more about the process the child experiences, rather than getting them to arrive at a particular conclusion. As there are no instructions, the child is given the opportunity to discover and experiment with new ideas and concepts. In doing so, children gain confidence and leadership skills.

Mistakes are made and this can in turn spark creativity rather than disappointment. Children become less afraid of trying new things as a result.

What are the benefits of ‘creative open-ended play’?

  • Promotes independent learning 
  • Stimulates the imagination 
  • Allows for experimentation 
  • Develops problem solving

By providing them with open ended and creative toys you are not only stimulating their senses, you are also engaging their creative minds which occupies them for a longer period.

What do you need to set up creative open-ended play?

Setting up creative open-ended play can be done with a few simple toys or items around the house or early childhood centre. 

  • Wooden blocks where a child might use them to create a city, tunnel, garage or fairy garden 
  • Playdough 
  • Wooden toys like rainbow stackers, cars, food, kitchen appliances or animals 
  • Sensory materials for example rice, pasta, sand, ice, water, water beads, sensory cotton sand as well as pieces of material like silks or scarves
  • Pretend play or dress up clothes 
  • Construction toys 
  • Musical instruments 
  • Craft materials – paddle pop sticks, coloured paper, pipe cleaners, pebbles, stickers or foam shapes 
  • Animal sets – ocean, forest, farm, dinosaurs, insects, or pets 
  • Pots and pans 
  • Paint, brushes and canvas 
  • Natural objects – pinecones, shells, pebbles, leaves, sticks or dried flowers

At The Creative Toy Shop, we are passionate about creative open-ended play and we stock a wide variety of these type of toys.

The Creative Toy Shop

Visit us at our Coffs Harbour retail shop: Unit 6, 22-24 Marcia St, Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2450