Open-Ended Activity and Sustainable Developement

Play is a useful activity for all ages and it is particularly through play that kids learn a lot. Play is a significant element of their growth and helps them develop and reinforce a broad range of abilities. The situation shows a number of children’s play features. In this proposal, we investigate how to design a range of routines for children’s play. More specifically, the concepts described in this proposition concentrate on developing playful models with interactive technology with which kids can play openly, helping kids to play in a variety of ways.

Open-ended Play
Open-ended play enables kids to freely and creatively express themselves in play, not bound by preset constraints (Frost, 2004). Playing with open-ended materials with various uses and unlimited opportunities, such as clay molding, moist sand, paint, blocks and other loose components, enables creative play. There are no rules to follow, no expectations, no particular issues to solve, and no pressure to manufacture a completed item when freely participating in open play (Drew, 2007). Closed-ended operations, on the other hand, have a determined result, a correct response, and a limit on individual differences. Single-use toys like puzzle would be examples of closed-end products.

This proposal has been inspired by the work of Valk, Bekker and Eggen (2015), in which they discussed the use of novel interactive technological prototypes; Glowsteps and Wobble. Both prototypes have been assessed with kids. Analyzing the play conduct of children led in a better comprehension of how social interaction changes through the Play Stages. The predominant types of social interaction shift from one-on – one to parallel to group play as players move from the invitation level to the exploration phase to the immersion level. From this enhanced knowledge of social interaction in the Play Stages, it was developed that consequences for design can be applied by designers to frame their thoughts and concepts in their design method, reflect on them and enhance them to generate wealthy and engaging play alternatives. This set of outcomes can serve as extensive design guidance in conjunction with the Stages of Play model.
The article also addressed the mixture of interaction over time and how social interaction in a social context provides a fresh outlook on developing for play. While it was thought that the paper findings can already inspire and assist designers, future study should investigate whether the findings themselves provide sufficient helpful advice or whether design professionals prefer to present them as a more comprehensive instrument or technique. The writers also showed interest in how the three Stages of Play could change when kids play for a longer period of time with an open-ended model, including recurring interactions.
Stages of Play Model
The Stages of Play model depicts interaction with a playful design in three phases over time: stage of invitation, stage of exploration and stage of immersion.

  1. Invitation Stage: The layout attracts prospective players by intriguing its audience. For instance, when someone walks by, a structure can begin to blink. Players thus create an expectation that they will be able to communicate with the model.
  2. Exploration Stage: Players attempt what the structure does and what they can do with it by engaging in exploratory play, not yet bound by regulations, through different behavior. For instance, by going intentionally before the design in distinct directions.
  3. Immersion Stage: Players are seduced to stay within the magic circle. Rules are being created and these rules are then used to play matches. This phase can eventually lead to a flow experience where players are completely absorbed in playing and forget about moment and location.
    From this point forward, players can return to the exploration level to explore other opportunities for communication or to the invitation level if another element of the design draws their attention. (De Valk, Bekker, & Eggen, 2013)

Targeted Age Groups and Observation
Although the submitted design targets younger or older age groups, the primary body of this proposition focuses on kids aged 6-8 years. as well.
According to Acuff and Reiher (2010) children’s play changes in several ways at around the age of six or seven, resulting in the age group of 6-8 years being an interesting and challenging group to design for. Children become more engaged in social play and move from fantasy to more realistic and competitive play. Older kids (6 +) still play fantasy, but with more structure, realism and information than younger kids. Younger kids (4-6 years of age) are mostly self-centered and impulsive, enjoy running and moving around, and mostly participate in parallel play. Children aged 6-8 actively move away from the earlier-period-related childish ideas. They are becoming more interested in complicated and difficult playing types. Children aged 4-7 start playing rules games. Many kids can play games with a set of easy regulations by 4 years of age. Regulatory games are particularly crucial for kids aged 7-11. Johnson (2006) states that six and seven-year-old kids still love playing easy games, but at the age of eight kids developed their strategic abilities and wanted to use them in rules games. Older kids love competitive organized play in bigger organizations. Children from 6 or 7 years of age move from being mainly self-centered to peer-oriented and become more interested in playing with other kids. Competition gets stronger as kids want to find out what they’re good at and how it compares with others. Therefore, play environments should be suitable for big organizations for this age group, be dynamic and convince kids to be active.
To sum up, study demonstrates that play benefits kids as play enables them to create different precious abilities. Changes in playing while kids evolve. We concentrate on kids aged 6-8 in this thesis. These kids appreciate physical and social play and begin playing rules-based games.
Open-ended Play and Outdoor Activities
If we only provide an outdoor play area with fixed facilities, we can accidentally restrict the creativity, movements of children, urge to experiment and fix problems. So certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have fixed resources in our backyards and play places as they also play a part, but ideally a balance of fixed and open ended mobile equipment is needed. This doesn’t have to be costly as most open ended materials can be obtained at little or no price, making it very cost-effective for teachers (THE EMPOWERED EDUCATOR, 2017)
When we include open ended products or loose parts in the outdoor play setting, it enables kids to take some hazards, challenge themselves, and feel like they have some control over their surroundings. They can extend their own play, explore, carry, separate materials and put them back together, rearrange them to suit their requirements, work out how heavy materials can be moved they decide how to use the materials. These materials could include sand, leaves, large blocks, tents, wooden planks, paint and drawing boards (THE EMPOWERED EDUCATOR, 2017).
(The Empowered Educator, 2017)

Sustainability and Open-Ended Activities
Edwards and Cutter-Mackenzie (2014) conducted a survey through an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant, working with a number of early childhood educators and kids using various ways of teaching and learning about sustainable ideas. She was still reluctant to teach science to young kids in a intriguing dichotomy, although one of the educators engaged in the research had a science degree, and stated that although she had always wanted to speak to the kids about recycling, she felt it was too hard to do so.
This teacher decided to set up a recycling experience for kids, sort objects for the recycling bin, garbage bin or worm farm bucket for the purpose of the research. This activity was provided three times to the kids. First, they had a’ model play’ situation where the professor showed how to recycle using the tongs and researching the laminated triangle graph, including searching for triangles under the plastic objects. The next time, the children were given an’ open-ended play’ experience with the same rubbish materials, but with the teacher standing aside to enable the children to solve problems. The third time was in a ‘ purposeful play ‘ mode — related to deliberate teaching ideas — with more teacher-children interaction and debate, and more resources on hand to further investigate concepts.
During all these experiences, the children were filmed and then filmed again while watching themselves on video (each time with child and parental consent), with the researchers asking the kids what they thought they were doing while they were recycling. Hearing the kids speak about how they thought they were’ working’ when they were recycling was fascinating, while playing was’ running around and doing things.’ For instance, the kids liked the various ways of teaching and learning,’ when[ the teacher] taught them how to do it,’ as well as just’ doing it alone.’
The teacher said she was amazed at the conclusion of the research with the quantity of concern and intense commitment shown by the kids during these recycling sessions. She said she felt as if she and the kids were on a mission to finish the project of recycling. This was further strengthened by the kids commenting that on a significant’ significant job’ they were not’ playing but working.’ The teacher also felt enhanced trust in her teaching as to how to approach science and sustainability, and intended to continue this technique of mixing open-ended and modelled teacher activity to create purposeful play. Purposeful play assisted her to have discussions with kids that in practice endorsed deliberate learning about sustainable ideas. She was particularly motivated in this recycling trial by the favorable response of both the kids and their relatives. Parents, for instance, said,’ It’s component of life and learning that’s really crucial for kids. This research demonstrates how to approach sustainability teaching and learning through various play methods such as open-ended play.

Benefits and Conclusion
There are some excellent advantages to open-ended play:

  1. Individual activity (for the kid who may be playing with other problems).
  2. Stress-free (no pressure to finish anything that looks precisely like the box picture).
  3. Builds creativity (in whatever interpretation you like, a painting can be whatever you want
  4. Develops decision making (Is the blocks going to be a tower? Road? Box? Will you group them by color? Size? Texture?)

Painting, cardboard pipes, and blocks are all instances of open-ended operations as you can play with each of them in a variety of ways without any results. On the other hand, a model airplane that is supposed to look like an airplane at the end of the play, and a baking recipe for children are not open-ended play because they need to look like the picture on the box. Hence, open-ended activities build a more sound mind with extensive creative input. They produce the leaders of tomorrow (Caroline, 2012)

Acuff, D. (2010). What Kids Buy and Why: The Psychology of Marketing to Kids. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Caroline, F. (2012, November 13). 5 Open-Ended Creative Play Activities. Retrieved from
Cutter-Mackenzie, A., & Edwards, S. (2014). Everyday Environmental Education Experiences: The Role of Content in Early Childhood Education. Australian Journal of Environmental Education, 30(1), 127-133. doi:10.1017/aee.2014.37
De Valk, L., Bekker, T., & Eggen, B. (2013). Leaving room for improvisation. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children – IDC ’13, 9(1), 107-120. doi:10.1145/2485760.2485771
De Valk, L., Bekker, T., & Eggen, B. (2013). Three stages of play: invitation, exploration and immersion [Figure]. Retrieved from
Drew, W. F. (2007, April). Endless Possibilities. Retrieved from
The Empowered Educator. (2017). [Photograph]. Retrieved from×512.jpg
Frost, Joe, L., Brown, P., & Thornton, C. D. (2004). The Developmental Benefits of Playgrounds. Childhood Education, 81(1), 42-44. doi:10.1080/00094056.2004.10879012
Johnson, J. E. (2006). Play development from ages four to eight. In Play from birth to twelve: contexts, perspectives, and meanings (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
THE EMPOWERED EDUCATOR. (2017, January 10). How to use open ended play materials & loose parts outdoors. Retrieved from

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *