From Tom Rainford and Mash Studio, enjoy these nine animations for The Genius of Play, a campaign by the not-for-profit Toy Industry Association to showcase the essential benefits of playtime. This series of shorts highlights different life skills that children can learn during unstructured play.

Update: The original video was taken down, but we’ve included favorites from the nine animations above and below.

From Dr. Michael Patte, a professor of education at Bloomsburg University:

Unstructured play is a set of activities that children dream up on their own without adult intervention. This type of play rarely has predetermined goals or objectives but instead allows children to create their own rules and establish their own limits. Recent research suggests that children should experience twice as much unstructured time as structured play experiences and touts the benefits of unstructured play on whole child development:

  • It provides opportunities for children to master elements of the world on their own terms.
  • It develops self-determination, self-esteem, and the ability to self-regulate — all vital elements of emotional development.
  • It fosters social competence, respect for rules, self-discipline, aggression control, problem solving skills, leadership development, conflict resolution, and playing by the rules.
  • It stimulates the senses and allows children to discover the different textures and elements in the world.
  • It provides fertile ground to cultivate creativity and imagination.
  • It enhances cognitive understandings.
  • It builds strength, coordination and cardiovascular fitness and moderates childhood obesity and its associated health complications.
  • It sees boredom as a vehicle for children to create their own happiness, enhance inventiveness, and develop self-reliance.

…Striking a balance between structured and unstructured play is the key to whole child development in the 21st century.

More videos about play, imagination, and creativity, including IMAGINE: How Creativity Works, Audri’s Rube Goldberg Monster Trap, Jim Henson: Run, Run (1965), and a prosthetic system that lets kids make their own LEGO robot limbs.

But save those for later. Go outside and play.

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