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A member asked:

Is structured play or free play better for babies?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Adam Naddelman
Pediatrics 24 years experience
Yes: Actually, a little bit of both is ideal for babies. Letting babies play freely with their toys or even common (safe) household items is a great way for them to explore and use their imagination. More structured play can help teach routines and can often provide great opportunities for socialization and shared experiences.
Dr. Holly Maes
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Yes: Neither is "better", both are needed by your baby. There has to be some free time to just roll around, tickle, laugh, do what your baby is interested in at the moment. But you also need some time that you lead - reading to baby, looking at books, singing songs, looking at photo albums both of these types of activities are important for interaction with environment and people as well as learning.
Dr. Lawrence Rosen
Pediatrics 28 years experience
No: Both are important. Free play is definitely under-rated; too often we don't allow babies to have "free time" to play and learn to be ok by themselves. Especially as they age, children learn much about socialization thru free play. Yet some guidance and direction with interaction with family members is crucial for development as well. Strike a balance.

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Last updated May 14, 2016

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