With so many flashy toys around these days, one can't help wondering if there are still any benefits to the traditional wooden or plastic building blocks! Well, you'll be pleased to know that these 'good old toys' are still beneficial for your kids-cognitively, physically and even socially! And nowadays they come in various shapes, sizes, colours and materials...all aimed at achieving a common goal
My six year old daughter and 18month old son both enjoy playing with building blocks! The girl is obviously at a more advanced stage in her interaction with building blocks and often 'tells' elaborate stories through the things she constructs. The boy, on the other hand, is still new to the game and really just enjoys stacking together the various colors and shapes and breaking them all up again! Albeit - he too is developing in the process!
The following are some of the benefits that come from playing with building blocks/construction toys:
1) Physical Benefit - Building blocks allow children to develop and improve both their gross and fine motor skills. As they reach for, lift, move and build the blocks it strengthens their fingers, hands, and arms as well as assisting in developing hand-eye coordination
2) Creative Benefit - Playing with blocks gives the child an opportunity to be creative as there are no limits to what they can build. It allows them to make their own design as well as give them the satisfaction of creating something on their own that did not exists before
3) Problem solving benefit - As they build and experiment with the different types of blocks they are also enhancing their problem solving skills; they learn firsthand what will and will not work. They develop skills in design, representation, balance and stability
4) Social Benefits - Block play encourages children to make friends and cooperate with one another. It encourages interaction and imagination as they strive together to solve problems. Research even suggests that kids become friendlier and more socially-savvy when they work on cooperative construction projects
5) Other cognitive benefits- Blocks encourage children to count, match, sort, group, add and subtract thus developing early math skills. They also learn how to describe colors, shapes, sizes and positions as they build various structures
These are just a few pointers that have hopefully enlightened you on toys that you can invest in the next time you go toy shopping!
If you have building blocks in the home, what has your child's experience been with these? At what stage/age did your child start playing with building blocks?