Building blocks and construction toys are a staple in childcare facilities for preschool age children, but did you know the benefits of block play for babies and toddlers?
The lessons associated with constructive play are plentiful, and will provide young children with a venue for creative thought, problem-solving, honing their motor skills, and fostering strong social development.
Here are some of the major skills that are learned by introducing block play at a young age:
1. Gross and Fine Motor Skills
While children are shifting, scooting, crawling and stretching to complete their masterpiece, they are helping to strengthen their gross motor skills. Small muscle development in hands and fingers through constructive play will help to hone fine motor skills as children piece together interlocking blocks or add blocks to their structure with increasing skill and precision.
2. Spatial Reasoning
Construction toys provide understanding of how pieces fit together and encourages comprehension of differing directions, shapes, and spaces. Through critical thinking about whether a piece will fit or form the shape they desire, children will utilize and foster spatial reasoning.
3. 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 awareness of the relation between their eyes and their own movements.
4. Problem Solving Skills
The trial-and-error nature of building blocks and other construction toys allows children to determine the best possible method with which to create their structure. As they erect their design and run into structural inadequacies, they will develop the ability to identify what is creating the problem in their structure, why it does not work, and how to modify their method.
5. Beginning Math and Science Skills
Children begin thinking about math when they are playing with blocks, even if they don’t know it. They count, compare size, name shapes, and combine two shapes to make another new shape. As they build, Children will test hypotheses and begin building scientific reasoning skills.