Build, Create, Play: The Benefits of Playing with Building Toys
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We all know that playing with building toys is beneficial for kids but did anyone ever tell you why?
Building toys have significant cognitive and academic benefits for children of all ages. Not only are they fun and exciting, but they help kids develop a wide variety of skills and abilities. They help prepare kids for school, sports and life! I guess you can say that these toys are the “building blocks” for success!
Did you know that playing with toys such as Legos, blocks and K’Nexhelps kids develop now AND in the future?
There are both short and long term positive effects of playing with construction toys. For instance, kids can learn basic colors and shapes which are rote and immediate, while also learning visual-spatial awareness which will help develop future reading and writing skills. Kids will also learn to cooperate with others as well as problem solve. Both skills are needed in childhood and as an adult.
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Benefits of playing with Building/Construction toys
Improves Fine Motor Manipulation and Strength
While playing with building toys, kids have to learn how to move and manipulate various shaped objects, big and small, as well as have the fine motor control to “click” them into place. This helps build motor strength as well as visual skills and motor planning.
Enhances Spatial Awareness
Building toys help kids enhance their visual-spatial skills which is crucial for reading readiness. As kids build, they have to understand spatial organization in order to create a structure that does not topple over.
Encourages Thinking and Reasoning
Every time a child builds and creates a structure or even an entire world, kids have to use reasoning and critical thinking skills. They also have to problem solve when something does not work the way they hoped it would. These skills are what make children become well-rounded, independent and successful adults!
Involves Focus and Patience
Children need to work slowly and carefully to be successful at creating their designs. This helps build their ability to focus and maintain attention for longer periods of time. It also teaches the important skill of patience.
Sparks the Imagination!
Building toys allow children to create their own fantasy worlds and stories. Using the imagination boosts cognitive, academic, language and social growth. As they create structures, they also create stories which leads to greater verbal skills including their ability to tell stories.
Once that masterpiece is finished, children are so proud of their accomplishments. It increases their belief in themselves which, in turn, boosts their self-confidence.
Helps Develop Problem Solving Skills
When building, kids need to decide what will or won’t work. They have to think quickly and readjust designs when needed. This helps build important problem solving skills which are needed in school and in life.
Encourages Children to Use Their Minds Instead of Relying on Technology
Kids today rely too much on technology so it is always beneficial to play with toys that focus on hands-on, interactive fun that requires thinking skills!
Can Lead into Pretend and Imaginary Play
Once the castle, fort, city or whatever your child creates is complete, then the story telling and pretend play begins! This is great for social and language development.
Introduction to Science
Through building, kids learn to experiment and make new discoveries about how things work. They are also introduced to worlds of architecture and design which brings them into the STEM world.
Helps Develop Math Skills
Introductory math concepts are introduced such as counting, adding, subtracting and basic geometry as kids play with building toys. Not only can children build shapes and numbers with the toys, but they can also count out the pieces and use mathematical calculations to build the perfect design.
Encourages Cooperative Play
Often times kids play with their peers when building so it helps foster teamwork and cooperation. Kids learn to work together and take each other’s advice. Turn taking is also a skill gained when building together.
Are your kids not ready to build?
Some kids are either too little or just not interested in building. That’s okay because building/construction toys can be used in other ways to enhance learning. Here are some ideas:
- Label the colors and shapes of the building materials
- Sort by shape, color and size
- Count the blocks/pieces
- Use the blocks or Lego pieces as manipulatives for math word problems. For example, you have 10 Legos and take 3 away, how many do you have left?
I hope these benefits have encouraged you to head out and buy some building/construction toys. If a limited budget is a problem, then use household items such as:
- Various sizes of bowls
- Cardboard boxes (including shoeboxes)
- Cans (including empty peanut butter jars and coffee cans)
- DVD cases
more about constructions with children