What’s the big deal about big brain
“The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain,” says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. “And without play experience, those neurons aren’t changed,” he says. So, play impacts the brain by causing the prefrontal cortex to become bigger and faster.
This is important because the prefrontal cortex is the brain’s executive control center. That’s where the brain regulates emotions, makes plans, and solves problems. So, scientists confirm that play is essential to healthy and exceptional brain development.
Not just any play, but Free Play
But, not just any play will suffice. To make the most of the early brain development, kids need what is called “free-play”. As Pellis says,
No coaches, no umpires, no rule books…Whether it’s rough-and-tumble play or two kids deciding to build a sand castle together, the kids themselves have to negotiate, well, what are we going to do in this game? What are the rules we are going to follow?
By engaging in free-play, and a lot of it, the brain builds new circuits in the prefrontal cortex to help it navigate these complex social interactions.
But, the key here is unstructured and free play. This cannot be replaced by guided play where teachers have imposed rules or a physical education class where the children play a game of basketball. This is because for play to have the impact on brain development as stated above, the act of playing must truly be playful.
All the toys at Rentoys are selected keeping in mind what we call “open-endedness” which we measure by asking questions such as in how many ways the toy can be played with, is there any rule book, and does the toy force the kids to think/create on his/her own.
This is why we offer a box on a monthly basis because we know that a kid can remain engaged with our toys for at least a month. Be it pretend-play toys with which kids can make new stories every day or magnetic toys such as magnatiles, grippies builders etc with which kids can make new structures every day, a Rentoys box guarantees free-play for your kids.