Early Childhood Teaching Tips: Structured Activity vs Unstructured Activity

by SPARK


The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that preschool-age children should get at least 2 hours of physical activity each day.  An hour of activity should be structured and the other hour unstructured. But what is the difference between these two types of activities?
Structured Activity is:
• Planned and directed
• Designed for child’s developmental level
• Organized activity with an instructional purpose
Unstructured Activity is:
• Self-directed
• Occurring as children explore their environment
• Opportunity to make up games, rules, and play with others
While unstructured activity allows time for creativity, self-expression, cooperation, structured activity is encourages socialization, development of gross motor skills and object control skills, and improves self confidence. The goal is to provide both types of activity each day.
Our sample lesson illustrates unstructured activity during Exploration, a time when children can just play with their fluff balls play near their spot markers. An example of structured and unstructured play in the same lesson is Challenges and Switcheoo. Click Here.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that preschool-age children should get at least 2 hours of physical activity each day.  An hour of activity should be structured and the other hour unstructured. But what is the difference between these two types of activities?

Structured Activity is:

  • Planned and directed
  • Designed for child’s developmental level
  • Organized activity with an instructional purpose

Unstructured Activity is:

  • Self-directed
  • Occurring as children explore their environment
  • Opportunity to make up games, rules,and play with others

Tips for Teachers- Structured activity vs. UnstructuredWhile unstructured activity allows time for creativity, self-expression, cooperation, structured activity is encourages socialization, development of gross motor skills and object control skills, and improves self confidence. The goal is to provide both types of activity each day.

Our sample lesson illustrates unstructured activity during Exploration, a time when children can just play with their fluff balls play near their spot markers. An example of structured and unstructured play in the same lesson is Challenges and Switcheoo. Click Here.

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