We come to improv parenting from the side, sneaking up to it in the vast landscape of research on parenting, play, child development, psychology, mindfulness and creativity. There is no direct research on using improv in our households, but there is a ton of informative, complementary and downright cool stuff that supports using improvisation, mindfulness and playfulness in our personal lives.
Our culture creates a false dichotomy between play and learning. Guided play offers a mix of the two.
Guided Play: Principles and Practices (Weisberg et al, 2016)
"Guided play combines the best elements of free play and direct instruction: child autonomy and adult expertise."
The SAGE Encyclopedia of Contemporary Early Childhood Education: Guided Play (Zosh et al, 2016)
"There need not be tension between free play and didactic instruction. Guided play highlights what is to be learned through inviting children’s participation and maximizing learning."