Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Play has been defined as behavior that is intrinsically motivated and performed only for the sake of the individual. As such, play is associated with the absence of external constraints and the exercising of personal freedom. In essence, unstructured play, which has also been referred to as spontaneous and free play, is the epitome of definitions of play, occurring when an individual freely engages in play. The values of unstructured play to the individual and society are similar to those associated with play in general. In other words, unstructured play can aid in the socialization and acculturation or assimilation of individuals, personal development, education and relaxation, and the development of problem-solving skills. Unstructured play also offers potential stimulation for individuals. The benefit of unstructured play compared to structured play is that it provides spontaneity and a constantly changing environment that ensures novelty and stimulation, as well as an exciting and ...