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Picasso was right when he said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” How do you keep kids creative when they grow up? The answer is through open-ended play.

Let’s elaborate on Picasso’s quote. As children, we’re all naturally creative people, divergent thinkers who see beyond reality into possibilities. Included with that, we’re all born as great problem solvers and opinionated leaders. However, as we grow up, we start to lose our ability to think divergently.

So, how can we foster creativity in children instead of beating it out of them? One solution is to engage children with open-ended play.

What is Open-Ended Play?

Open ended play is essentially unstructured play. It’s play without an intended end result. For example, if you help a kid follow instructions on his Lego kit to build a specific item from the set, you would be engaging in closed play. In contrast, open-ended play could include using the same set. But instead of following instructions, you let your kid put together the pieces by themselves to make their own unique, creative item.

As another example, closed play might be playing dollies and having them act out the exact script of Frozen. On the other hand, open-ended play would allow your child to lead the plotline of the dolly’s adventure—even if that means reenacting the same scene about a million times.

Essentially, the biggest differences between open-ended play and other kinds of play are that open-ended play is led by the child, doesn’t have any set rules, and doesn’t have a set result.

Why is Open-Ended Play Important?

This kind of play allows your child to learn how to take charge of a situation. Through open-ended play, they can:

  • Improve their storytelling and communication skills
  • Learn to be leaders
  • Practice creative thinking and problem solving skills
  • Practice regulating their emotions
  • Become more socially aware
  • Experiment with new concepts

How Does Coconut Cove Encourage Open-Ended Play?

Fortunately, playground elements encouraging open-ended play are all over Coconut Cove. Here are a few examples from our Centerville location:

Foam building blocks:

These padded building blocks have all the open-play style fun of a Lego set, minus the screaming pain if you step on one.
Our castle-style building blocks don’t have to be used just for castles.

Shape blocks for babies:

The soft baby blocks in our infant area are perfect for open-ended play, and sometimes as chewtoys.
These soft baby blocks are perfect for babies to practice motor development skills and practice colors as part of open-ended play.

And these secret” puzzle blocks, in a tucked-away, cave-like area on the second floor: 

Blocks tucked into a fun little corner of Coconut Cove are just waiting to be played with.
Hidden away in the back of the playground, these uniquely shaped blocks are sure to fire any child’s imagination.

About Coconut Cove

Coconut Cove is Utah’s best indoor playground, family amusement center for families with children under age 12. The playground has dozens of “play events” for young children. These events include trampolines, ball cannons, a ball fountain, a variety of slides, crawl tunnels, bridges, stepping stones, and a toddler area. Because here at Coconut Cove, we believe in getting kids off of screens or arcades and participating in Active Play. In addition, Coconut Cove prides itself on being safe, clean, sanitary, and affordable! Also, it has plenty of seating for adults and fun entertainment for children. It is a great place for kids birthday parties, mommy play dates, or for families to just come and have fun! If you are looking for fun activities for kids in Utah, come to Coconut Cove!

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