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There is no question that children learn through play. In this age of technology and electronic learning, it is important that we still provide old-fashioned play opportunities. The way we can do this is by providing a variety of materials for children. A standard set of basic blocks is a good starting point.
Blocks do not need to be an expensive fancy set. Using even assorted cardboard boxes can teach a child some basics.You might be surprised to learn that building blocks have been scientifically proven to build important skills. Keep reading to learn what the benefits are! Click To Tweet
If you do not believe that children can learn a lot from playing with a set of blocks, I hope you read this and reconsider. This article will show you the many ways children learn through basic block play and what they are learning.
In this article, I am not going to be speaking about using Lego sets to build a specific thing following instructions. I am talking about basic blocks of various shapes. Something that is open-ended and leaves room for creativity and imagination.
Keep reading to how blocks are a creative learning tool.
Benefits of Building with Blocks
There are a lot of basic things children in the infant and toddler stage can learn from building with blocks. Here are a few important skills they learn.
Fine Motor Skills
They gain fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination every time they use their hands and fingers to build something. This may not sound like much, but it is huge in child development.
They are learning self-expression as they use their imagination and creativity, knocking over and rebuilding creations. This also helps them develop self-esteem as they gain confidence in their builds.
They are developing visual perception and spatial awareness every time they stack and balance blocks on top of each other. Distance, location, directions, shapes, and sizes all can be explored with this simple activity.
Cause and Effect
If your children are playing with plastic blocks, they quickly learn that these make noise. Banging plastic blocks together or knocking over tall towers can be hard on the ears. Kids learn this fast.
If you want something quieter, try foam building blocks like the Premium Joy 68 Piece Foam Building Blocks Set. They are non-toxic, durable, come in fun shapes and colors, and, most importantly, are quiet!
They are made of EVA foam, which is dense and soft to the touch. And, don’t worry – they are waterproof and clean easily too!
Problem Solving Skills
Kids develop problem-solving skills when they stack and balance the blocks without them falling over. Each time they make a tweak to help their creations stand tall, they have to analyze the situation and move forward with their best thought.
This back and forth process helps children be more independent.
Math and Science concepts like weight, balance, and stability are learned.
Toddlers and preschool children can learn shapes and colors when playing with blocks.
Older children can learn patterns as they are creating. During cooperative play, they are learning communication and social skills—benefiting physical, social, language, and cognitive development.
- To develop some gross motor skills, try making a pattern of blocks on the floor and try to balance as you walk on top of them.
- Talk to the child about what they are building and develop language and conversation skills.
- Playing a guessing game with them telling them to find the square or red triangle is a great game.
- If you have various sizes, you can also play bigger and smaller with the child choosing the bigger or smaller shape or color that you ask for.
- Use blocks as bowling pins and a foam ball as the bowling ball
- Line colored blocks up to create a rainbow.
- Have some designs drawn on a poster board and use the blocks like puzzle pieces to fill in the design.
- A similar idea is to have letters and numbers drawn and have the child match up the letters and numbers to the images.
- Make an obstacle course.
It is amazing what a kid can build with a variety of blocks, some space, and a few assorted cars, animals, and mini toys.
One minute they are learning to stack a few blocks together, and before long, they are building elaborate structures. Kids learn more from playing with blocks than most of us realize. Have fun!
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.