Building blocks or toy blocks refer to solid shapes made of wood or plastic used for construction play. These building toys are powerful learning tools to help develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, language skills, cognitive flexibility, social competence, spatial skills, engineering skills, and even children’s mathematical skills.
In this post, you’ll learn more about these essential skills that your kids can learn when playing with blocks.
Skills Kids Learn When Playing With Blocks
Arranging and stacking building blocks can stimulate the motor development of children, most especially toddlers. Children benefit when building or when construction play incorporates extra elements, such as:
Building different things from templates
Talking with other kids about spatial relationships
Engaging in cooperative projects
Building blocks and construction play promote better spatial reasoning. Toddlers and preschoolers are interested in construction, building more sophisticated structures, and performing better on a standardized spatial intelligence test.
Here are the good-to-know facts about the developmental effects of toy blocks among children:
Children who participate in guided construction play outperform other kids on block building, spatial visualization test, and “mental rotation” -or the ability to analyze rotated 3-D shapes.
Block play shows a significant impact on the spatial ability of children. One study on NCBI shows that children ages 4 to 7 years old who engage in spatial play, such as playing with puzzles, building blocks, and board games, have increased spatial ability.
Cognitive flexibility refers to shifting focus from one stimulus to another, which is vital for academic success. Playing building blocks can improve the mental flexibility of children because of familiarization with materials, even with more demanding tasks.
Regular block play can enhance children’s language skills based on the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories. Instead of spending hours watching TV or YouTube, children can highly benefit from playing building blocks to enhance children’s grammar, vocabulary, and verbal comprehension.
Encouraging block play can motivate kids to pay more attention to interacting with parents and other kids. Toy blocks, like other toys, should be tools that parents can use to best interact with children, encouraging one-on-one and face-to-face conversations with other people.
Building blocks are used for divergent play because children can put blocks together. Kids are more prepared to think creatively and help solve divergent problems better. Also, puzzle pieces promote convergent play that can help enhance a child’s problem-solving skills. Indeed, parents can help children overcome personal struggles with the help of toys and games that improve a child’s problem-solving skills.
Children who play with toy blocks tend to become more socially savvy and friendlier when working on cooperative construction projects. It’s a good idea to encourage your children to engage in communicative play with the help of toy blocks.
Forbes has a great story about a child who made $22 million playing with toys.
Here are some tips to improve the social skills of children using building blocks:
Encourage your children to play with other kids using toy blocks and mini action figures.
Explain how adults work or do things by role-playing using building blocks.
Ask your young kids to freely express thoughts and emotions through collaborative play using toy blocks. Also, spending time playing with your kids promotes a good parent and child bonding experience.
Children who are skilled in building blocks tend to become better in mathematics. One study on Research Gate showed that students performed better in mathematics because of spending more free time in building or construction play word problems.
Here’s how you can teach a toddler or preschooler basic arithmetic skills using building blocks:
First, build small objects, like small trucks, using toy blocks to show your child how to build one.
While creating toy blocks, ask your child to focus and pay attention by telling a short story for each truck, like the path, distance, or route the farmer takes when driving and delivering harvested fruits and vegetables in the market, and how many trucks are needed to deliver this many kilos of perishable goods.
After building 5 to 10 blocks, start counting one by one and ask your child to repeat the numbers.
Encourage your child also to narrate a short story about the small trucks.
Ask questions like how many trucks did you build, the distance the farmer traveled, or how many trucks were used to deliver goods in the market. Be creative by using your imagination and toy blocks to help improve the mathematical skills of your children.
Your children can learn a lot from playing with toy blocks. It enhances children’s problem-solving, mathematical, language, and motor skills, most especially for toddlers and preschoolers. Also, creative thinking, social skills, and critical analysis are enhanced with divergent play through building blocks.