What is Free Play, and why is it so important? 

What is Free Play, and why is it so important? 


Free Play is described by “Play England” as “children choosing what they want to do, how they want to do it and when to stop and try something else. Free play has no external goals set by adults and has no adult imposed curriculum. Although adults usually provide the space and resources for free play and might be involved, the child takes the lead and the adults respond to cues from the child”. 


An example of this is taking children to the park, and letting them play with their friends. The obstacles are there, but the children make up the rules of the games. 


Why is it so important? 


The children get exercise, which in our more sedentary society is especially important. But almost more importantly they get to use their imagination and their brains. They must problem solve (how will I get over this obstacle), they must re-evaluate situations (I climbed up but couldn’t get down, how will I approach this differently so I can get up an down?). This is not always done in more mainstream sports classes. When children go to a gymnastics, football or dance class they follow rules. They learn patterns of movements and perform them as shown by their teacher. Of course there is a place for this, but they lose the ability to problem-solve. 


They also gain confidence by having free play time. As there are no rules, they experiment on their own terms. Perhaps hanging upside down is a little scary. But after watching their friends do it a few times, they might try it themselves,  in their own time. No pressure. And once they get it, this will give them the confidence to try more new things. 


It also teaches them teamwork as well as helping them to become more emotionally aware. They need to look at the world around them, and make changes depending on what other children are capable of, how many there are, who likes what etc. 


All of these skills are so important, and to a certain extent cannot be taught by the adults around them. In our society, where children are more sedentary than they used to be, and where most of their ‘fitness’ time is spent in structured classes, it is vital to ensure they also have access to free play. The obvious time for this is in the playground, but when the weather turns and it gets too cold and wet (usually for the parents!) then going to a class where free play is allowed and encouraged is important. 


Our kids classes at Lift Off encourage free play. For more information, please send us an email here


Coach Annel Lise 

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Lift Off CrossFit is based in Bishops Stortford, Herts. Our experienced team of coaches have made Lift Off the regions premier CrossFit box.

We welcome all levels of experience and pride ourselves on treating all members as equals.



If you are interested in coming down to meet us, please get in touch. We would love to hear from you!

 01279 755 333
 Unit 1, Twyford Business Centre
London Road, Bishops Stortford
CM23 3YT