Blocks help children meet important developmental milestones. They introduce young children to science and math concepts such as measurement, weight, classification, and visual awareness. They also develop positive social skills such as teamwork and sharing.
Blocks are available in different types of materials and sizes. You can even make blocks from things you normally throw away like empty cereal and tissue boxes.
Read on to find out how encouraging your child to play with blocks will help them succeed in school and in their relationships with peers.
Block Play Promotes Milestone Development
Blocks promote the use of fine motor skills. Small muscles in the fingers, hand, and wrist are needed to pick up blocks. Coordination and balance is needed to stack them on top of one another.
By varying the sizes and weight of blocks, you can help your child strengthen different muscles and creativity!
Blocks are an excellent way to build self-esteem. Think back to the last time you built something.
I vividly remember putting together my son’s high chair. The process took several hours and, nine months pregnant at the time, I probably spent another hour staring at it, amazed at what I had accomplished. Your child feels this same sense of pride when stacking and building.
Take the time to praise not only the finished product, but also the amount of work that went into his or her project. Praising children for effort encourages them to value hard work and persistence, even if they don’t always succeed in their task.
Blocks can be a solo or group activity. When building structures with others, your child is learning the value of cooperation, taking turns, and working towards a common goal. They are also gaining a valuable lesson is active listening. All of these skills are needed to develop friendships later in childhood.
Blocks encourage divergent thinking which is crucial to problem-solving. Divergent thinking is needed when a problem can have many solutions. How many ways can your child make a block structure? The possibilities are endless!
Your child is honing his spacial awareness skills when he playing with connecting blocks such as Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag, Classic. Spacial awareness is the ability to mentally rotate objects with the mind’s eye. One year olds have a hard time with this concept. Four and five-year olds are pretty darn good at it, especially if given lots of opportunities to play with blocks.
Through constructive play, children practice forming and testing hypotheses, a critical part of the scientific method! Through their experimentation, they begin to learn about measurement, volume, and balance. The laws of gravity are introduced when children build and topple over block towers.
Engaging in block play with your child can be a powerful language building activity. Think about the words you can teach while building with your child (stack, balance, above, below, etc).
Depending on the blocks used, you can introduce colors, counting, and themes such as sizes (tall/short, big/little), spacial terms (above/below), and senses (soft/hard, light/heavy).
Tips for Engaging your Children in Block Play
- Select blocks that are age appropriate. Infants can be introduced to large, soft blocks from birth. We loved these soft blocks with handles for easy grasping.
- Young toddlers or children who frequently throw toys (no judgement, my son was one) can enjoy foam blocks without the risk of head trauma.
- Small wooden blocks are great for fine motor development, but you’ll need to keep a close eye due to the risk of choking.
- Combine block play with story-time. Work together to build something you read about in the book!
- Use masking tape to make roads on the floor. Build a city around the roads.
- Give kids a few props to use with the blocks to encourage creativity. Toy cars, plastic animals, and small figurines are great accompaniments to block structures.
- One of the best ways to engage your child in an activity is to participate yourself. Try introducing new words or see if they can copy a structure you build.
Please comment below with your ideas on how to promote block play. Your comments inspire me!
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