Celebrating Free Play for kids #PetitsFilousFreePlay #ad

boys playing in Wendy house

Sian’s children enjoy some Free Play. Click to read her post. Picture: Quite Frankly She Said’s

Free Play is critical for children’s development. Not only does it tap into your child’s imagination and encourage creative thinking, it also supports physical and cognitive development. We held a Twitter chat talking about how you encourage your children to Play Free. We were joined by the free play advocate Anita Cleare (@thinking_parent). Scroll down to see some of her great advice for parents.

The chat was sponsored by Petits Filous, the UK’s number 1 fromage frais brand. They have been dedicated to child development in the UK for the last 30 years. They are championing the the power of Free Play for children’s development, encouraging parents (and all other care givers including grandparents) to embrace it as part of their child’s day.

Nothing fuels free play at home or out quite like Petits Filous, which fits easily into a bag has calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones, and comes in tasty fruit flavours.


How do you encourage your kids to use their imaginations & play free?

Turn off the TV and let them loose with their toys. Don’t worry about the mess, you can tidy up later @Chelseamamma


If they’re struggling to get going with their imaginations then I find the easiest way is to take them away from all other distractions. Outdoors somewhere. Then they soon remember. @BeingMrsC

Since I work, home educating often means the children are left to their own devices. Amazing to see how their passions emerge and how motivated they are. I thought they needed my constant input but not the case @Kateonthinice

We (try to) keep all the toys in a toy room & each day they pick something different to play with, sometimes I might have to sit with them to get them started but after a few minutes I can often leave them to play happily by themselves! @A_MothersLoveXo

Oh boy we got a new carpet before Christmas, and my children spent ages playing with the mahoosive cardboard tube it came on! @KEEccles

Don’t be afraid to get mucky!

I grew up next to the sea and got muddy, wet and covered in seaweed a lot of the time – I think mess is great, not being afraid of getting grubby and messy and just getting out there being less afraid of scrapes and falls and mud @KerryBirse

I love a Swedish quote I heard: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” @AScottishMum

My daughter was delighted when I gave her a bowl of suds in the garden and let her wash all her dolls clothes! @MissieLizzieB


Need some encouragement – set the scene


Last year I let little man make his own bird feeders. He collected cones in the forest, got messy with sticky seeds and chose a hanging place in the garden. We all got to watch the birds afterwards too @LittleBlondePea

My children love nothing more then throwing some pots and pans and utensils on the kitchen floor and making their own kitchen time band. This was also a favourite of mine as a child, fun doesn’t have to cost a fortune! @JadeySams




Advice from Anita Cleare – @Thinking_Parent

I think there is a lot of pressure on schools to justify every school minute in terms of meeting a learning goal. We need to be careful as parents, not to judge children’s learning and development just in academic terms

Outdoor play in natural settings is fantastic. The outdoors is a very sensory-rich environment as there are lots of things to look at and feel and smell and hear. And it is constantly changing


You can also focus on providing basic play materials that can be used in lots of different ways – empty cardboard boxes, scraps of fabric, string, pipe cleaners etc – rather than shop bought toys that can be rather limiting

Q: Do you worry about strife & fights between kids during free play?

Anita: With little ones, you can teach the word gentle and give lots of praise whenever they are gentle. When they are agressive, remove them from the situation for a few minutes and give no attention. Kids tend to repeat behaviour that gets attention.

An important mantra for parents

Just give yourself a talking to when you find yourself feeling guilty! Repeat after me: “It is not my job to fill their every moment. A bit of boredom is good for them!” 🙂 


Petits Filous provides your child with the goodness of calcium and vitamin D for healthy bones. Furthermore, a recent Change4Life campaign launched by Public Health England recommends Petits Filous – with less than 100 calories per serving as a healthy snack for kids. Learn more about the nutritional benefits of Petits Filous at petitsfilous.co.uk

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