‘Guided play’ benefits kids—but what does that look like for parents? — from hechingerreport.org by Jackie Mader
Everyday interactions offer plenty of chances for playful learning


So, it sounds like if there’s a learning goal that a parent has in mind, the way to do that is to engage in guided play versus setting a kid free to just do what they would like?
Yeah, definitely. So free play is fundamental to anyone’s life, right? We know that it can help social emotional development, physical development, and executive function development. It’s really important. But research is finding when there’s a learning goal, that guided play yields the best results for that. The reason why guided play is so effective is because it reflects these key characteristics of decades and decades of research of how we know how human brains learn best. We know that we learn best when we’re active, not passive, engaged, not distracted, when it’s meaningful, when it’s connected to what matters what we already know. When it’s iterative, so children can test and try out different ideas, and when they’re interacting socially with others, and when they’re joyful. And so that’s part of why guided play is so powerful.