When given the opportunity to play on their own, children demonstrate greater levels of confidence and improved social skills. There are also wider community benefits of independent play, such as closer neighborhood relations, a stronger sense of community, and less fear of crime (Shaw et al. 2013). Children also get to have rest away from the adult world, a sense of privacy, and an opportunity to keep secrets. They get to create their own worlds and top-secret hideaways and forts, take shortcuts that adults might not necessarily take, and even invent their own languages. All of these benefits of independent play foster a sense of responsibility, comraderie among peers, independence, and imagination, and they enhance children’s play skills. Children simply need the space to roam and the chance to play on their own.

— Angela Hanscom, “Balanced and Barefoot,” 2016 (p. 118).

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