Few toys provide as many developmental benefits for children as stacking blocks. From emotional growth and resilience, to visual-spatial practice, playing with building blocks stimulates children’s imagination and encourages natural creativity in a seemingly simple, yet highly effective and important way.
And the most interesting thing is that the toy has no pre-established rules. Watch five children playing with blocks and you will probably see five different approaches. And that is what makes it so amazing and fun because they are free to create their own goals and missions, developing and working on skills and concepts that will accompany them into adulthood, such as problem-solving, hypothesis testing, notions of gravity, among other things.
The Benefits of Block Play For Infants and Toddlers
To encourage you to offer building blocks to your child, we have listed below some of the main benefits of the activity for children of all age groups.
Development of speech and language
At first, you may not naturally associate block play with speech and language development, but this activity promotes a lot of oral self-expression, especially when children start to report or create stories about what they have built.
Practice fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination
One of the little ones’ first reactions, when they receive a set of blocks, is to start stacking them. This seemingly simple action of positioning the cubes on top of each other – and the fine adjustment needed to create a non-swinging tower – requires fine motor skills and precise hand-eye coordination.
Basic maths lessons
Pattern recognition, symmetry, and fractions – all elements of mathematics – are intrinsic parts of blocks. Young children can also practice basic counting and learn one-to-one correspondence, which means making the connection between the number word (“one”) and the quantity (1).
Social and Emotional Development
When the opportunity arises to interact with other children, block play encourages the practice of cooperation, problem-solving, turn-taking and sharing, skills that take a long time to develop and are very challenging for young children.
Hand-Eye Coordination and Dexterity
During play, children are enhancing their hand-eye coordination by understanding how they control their hands and fingers as well as figuring out the connection between touch and sight. By picking up blocks and placing them onto a structure or by connecting interlocking pieces, children develop an awareness of the relation between their eyes and their own movements.
Because they are completely rule-free, blocks can be incorporated into make-believe play as food, a character, in the construction of a story element, and even the setting. This “open toy” characteristic encourages children’s creativity and stimulates the creation of their own rules and norms.
And do you know what the best part of all this is? There is no age limit. Even as they get older, children can still benefit from blocks, making them extremely versatile and cost-effective. Even in some schools, it is common for teachers to use blocks for maths, science, and even subjects like art, language, and social studies. Isn’t it amazing how something apparently simple can bring so many benefits to your child? No wonder they’ve been around for so long and are gaining more and more models every year.