Building blocks are for more than just play!
Play is for so much more than just simply keeping a child occupied… it’s an important part of a child’s development. It helps children learn and grow, and it provides parents with opportunities to interact with them in positive ways. Playing with building blocks is a type of imaginative play that can help your child’s development of language skills, cognitive abilities, social skills, and math skills, and is an experience that is always on offer at Eden Academy. Building blocks come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes and are easily found at any children’s toy store or department store. Here are 5 ways why playing with building blocks is a fantastic way to promote growth and development in your child.
Imaginative and social play
Blocks can be used in a number of different ways to build almost anything, which means they are the perfect toy to encourage imaginative play! They can be used to create buildings, spaceships and vehicles — as well as stories or story worlds, games, scenes and maps (all encouraging the child to lead the game and not just play along with you). Participating in building play provides children with the opportunity to socialise and play with other children as they learn to negotiate, share and work as a team to achieve a common goal.
Support for language development
Blocks are a great way to support language development, and there are many conversations and words that you can use while playing with your child to introduce them to language.
- Create stories together with your child when building. Help them build the story by adding on to their ideas with blocks that represent people or animals, as well as items like trees and houses.
- Use blocks as visual prompts for simple sentences such as “I have a cat” or “The dog is sleeping”.
- Onometapea (sound words) can be used to encourage your child to copy the sounds that they make, eg CRASH! BANG! YAY! OH NO!
Building with blocks helps children practise their cognitive thinking skills. They can help children learn about size, shape and colour as they learn to identify the differences between them. They can also work on their sensory perception by feeling the different textures on each block. Blocks are an opportunity for children to practice balance, gravity and weight as well as cause and effect in their play environment. Young minds plan and sequence actions when learning through this play, which is critical for later academic success. Spatial awareness is also developed through building structures that perfectly (or not so perfectly) fit into each other or by seeing how shapes fit together. This is important because learning about spatial relationships teaches children how things fit together physically in the world.
They can also be stacked, knocked down, and rearranged again and again! Moving and shifting larger ones provides the opportunity for children to practise their gross motor skills (the ability to move large parts of their bodies), which are crucial in order to learn new things like walking, running or jumping. In addition, playing with blocks also helps develop strength in both small muscles (like fingers) when pinching and grabbing blocks of all sizes.
Early maths skills and problem-solving abilities
Early maths concepts like counting, sorting, and patterns are taught when using lots of pieces in play. They can also be used to teach geometry concepts such as symmetry and scale.
What will you build today?
Block play is a great way for children to develop many important skills. It offers them opportunities for imaginative play, social interaction, math skills and problem-solving abilities. It encourages language development as well as physical and cognitive development. Block play also provides an important opportunity for parents to interact with their children in a meaningful way.