We BET you've played with blocks before. They are great. When I was younger, I never really appreciated all the things I was learning while playing with those simple pieces of timber. But now, as I watch my children develop new skills and master old ones, I can't help but think of all the ways that these pieces of wood become such amazing tools for learning.
Here are 10 reasons you child should be playing with blocks.
1. Toy Blocks and Spatial Skills - Building structures encourages a child to test spatial relationships and mentally rotate objects in their mind's eye. Practicing this skill of visualisation can lead children to be more creative as well as more logical!
2. Toy blocks and Maths Skills - Some of the math skills encouraged through block play include: counting, comparison of length and width, names of shapes and how to combine certain geometric shapes to make other shapes (two triangles might make a rectangle!). Children are even learning the basics of addition when they discover that two short blocks will be the same size as another longer block.
3. Toy blocks and creative, divergent problem solving - Psychologists recognise two major types of problem people encounter. Convergent problems have only one correct solution (think of a maths question). Divergent problems can be solved in multiple ways (think of a creative problem). Because kids can arrange blocks in a variety of ways, block play is divergent play. And divergent play with blocks may prepare kids to think creatively and better solve divergent problems. For example - if you ask a child to build a house, there are countless ways they could create it!
4. Toy blocks and cooperative play - Research suggests that kids become friendlier and more socially savvy when they work on cooperative construction projects - blocks are perfect for this. Asking another child for help, to pass a particular piece, or for their opinion will all develop social skills.
5. Language Skills – Little builders learn language skills and vocabulary as they discuss what they are building - talk about the shapes, the colour, the height. Imagine the block is a horse, what is it doing? Imagine the building is a hospital, who is inside?
6. Reading and Writing Skills - Through block play, children understand the importance of sequence, an important early reading skill, as they retell their experiences with the blocks. Both parents and teachers can help children write stories about what they are building. Maybe the blocks have letters on them to read, or even better, maybe the child can recreate the letter out of a number of block pieces.
7. Build Imagination - Children can follow their own plan, or they can share a friend’s vision and work together to create something they never dreamed of. A block is so much more than a block in the mind of a child.
8. Science Concepts- Children learn science when they experience gravity as their constructions fall. They also learn the use of simple machines as they build ramps to their buildings. Simple physics can be explored with pieces rolling down another. As well as weight and mass. Who would have thought!
9. Social and emotional growth - Blocks help children learn to take turns and share materials, develop new friendships, become self-reliant, increase attention span, cooperate with others, and develop self-esteem - that's a lot for some little pieces of wood!
10. Self-esteem - Children discover that they have ideas and that they can bring their ideas to life by creating, transforming, demolishing, and re-creating something unique.
PLUS a BONUS REASON
11. Responsibility - In addition to all of the above, they learn how to be responsible when they clean up after they are done with the blocks and also when they treat their toys with respect and care.
So! There you have it. A MASSIVE list of reasons why your child should have blocks as a staple in your childs play room.
Do you need some blocks to add to your collection (or start, we don't judge). Get some GREAT blocks HERE.