Child-Led Play

The Park District of Franklin Park has successfully incorporated Child-Led Play into programs since 2005. Abundant research and experience tells us that creative, open-ended, child-initiated play is vital to children’s health and well-being. It strengthens them physically, helps them develop socially and emotionally, and stimulates their cognitive development.

Child-Led Play is allowing children to make the decisions when engaging in play. This allows children to have some control over their environment and gives them a sense of purpose. By participating, you are helping children build fundamental life skills. They will develop creativity, motor skills and independent thinking. Child-Led Play does not involve electronics, but rather simple toys and equipment where children can use their imagination.

At the Park District of Franklin Park, we have made a commitment to incorporating play to give children a well-rounded experience in our Early Childhood Classes, Summer Camps and Athletic Programs. The district has worked closely with Penny Wilson, a professional play worker from the United Kingdom, and the Alliance for Childhood, a national group that advocates for play. After integrating methods learned from Wilson and the Alliance, we have witnessed a very positive effect in children.

The Park District of Franklin Park is dedicated to expanding the education on Child-Led Play to staff, the community, and other organizations. Taking into consideration the isolation and deprivation of play during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that children return to play. 

Child-Led Play Resources

Time for Play, Every Day: It’s Fun – and Fundamental by: Alliance for Childhood

Follow the leader: Child-led play by: Kevin Zoromski

Six Benefits of Using Child-Led Learning by: Amanda Stockdale

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