Are Building Blocks The Best Educational Toy for Children?
One of the finest things about building blocks is their enormous potential. Once in the hands of a creative child, they can be transformed into anything; a house for their dolls, a garage, a mighty fortress or a teetering tower! There’s no limit to what can be created from just a pile of brightly colored building blocks.
Few other educational toys for kids offer the same scope for imaginative play. However, there’s more to building blocks than just constructive creativity. In fact, they’re one of the most effective educational toys available, thanks to the numerous ways in which they help children extend and develop their learning.
Building Sets – Taking Kids ‘Ahead of the Curve’
Even the experts suggest that building toys help to make children better learners at school. According to researchers at Delaware University, traditional toys like building blocks are ideal for teaching kids about spatial awareness.
“Skills, including early geometry and knowing the names of shapes, help kids learn the math skills they pick up in kindergarten,” says Brian Verdine, author of the study. “And if they already have those (before they begin school) they are ahead of the curve.”
In short, parents who provide their children with educational building sets may be effectively setting them up for better achievement when they reach school-age, which is an impressive benefit for such a seemingly simple toy!
Why Are Building Blocks Such an Effective Educational Toy?
Looking at a box of building blocks, it’s not immediately obvious why they’re such a powerful educational toy for children. After all, they’re just simple blocks of varying shapes and colors. So what exactly is it that makes them such effective learning tools?
In the early stages of a child’s development, using building blocks is about simple hand-to-eye coordination. Your baby will learn how to grasp the blocks, bash them together (to make a lovely noise!) and as they reach the age of 1 to 2 years old, they’ll begin to develop the motor skills required to stack them on top of one another.
As your child turns from baby to toddler, they will love to play with toys they can take apart, put back together, add on or build up. By choosing ‘open ended’ toys, your child can play with them in a variety of ways. Toys such as building blocks, interlocking blocks and nesting blocks will help them learn about spatial identification (how things fit together) and develop their logical thinking skills.
Some of the benefits of playing with building toys include: improving fine motor manipulation, encouraging critical thinking, building confidence, developing problem solving skills, and helping them to create their own fantasy world.
Building sets also help to develop the following skills:
- Cognitive ability – Using educational building blocks, your child will start to draw comparisons between the different shapes and sizes. They’ll start to classify, recognizing distinct groups of rectangles, squares, red bricks and yellow ones. They’ll also start to develop understanding about sequences.
- Math – Building blocks provide a great introduction to basic math skills. Children learn about order, patterns and shapes. They’ll also learn how to make estimates, and how to subtract and add blocks to their construction.
- Science knowledge – Building with blocks enables children to begin to understand weight, height, balance and the effects of gravity. They’ll start to understand symmetry, action and reaction (e.g. ‘if I push it, it will fall down’!) and spatial visualization.
- Creative – Children not only engage in imaginary play, but they start to become problem-solvers, experimenting with ways to create the construction they want. They use their creations in an explorative way; for example – playing with dolls in a building-block house to understand relationships, or using animals to figure out how to run a zoo.
- Social skills – Of course, when playing with a friend or family member, building blocks are ideal for developing social skills. They encourage collaboration and equality, and also a sense of autonomy and achievement.
Building Blocks Create the Architects of the Future?
If you don’t think that building sets could produce the designers, engineers and architects of the future, think again. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright apparently spent many hours as a child playing with his building block set, and famously said: “The maple wood blocks are in my fingers to this day. These primary forms and figures were the secret of all effects which were ever got into the architecture of the world.”
There are of course, many types of building sets you can buy for your children. In addition to traditional building blocks, there are magnetic building sets that clip in place using the power of magnetic attraction; which teaches children a further lesson in science. Even toys such as marble runs are great for getting children engaging in logical thinking; as they plot their design while taking balance, gravity and direction into consideration.
By choosing the right building toys that will grow with your child, both challenging and nurturing their abilities, you will help jump-start their neurological development (language, thinking, reasoning, physical and emotional-social skills) which are important skills your child will use for the rest of their life.
Building Blocks, Magnetic Building Sets and Marble Runs
If you’d like to ignite your child’s passion for construction while helping develop their learning, explore the range of building sets, building blocks, magnetic building toys and marble runs at Kiddit today.