Benefits of Construction Toys: Imagination Plus+++++
September 30, 2014
There are a myriad of building toys available. You can make your own from egg cartons, cardboard boxes, pillows, just about anything that’s stackable and age appropriate. While we would encourage you to have a variety of building toys available, the point is to use what you have to stimulate your children. Benefits of playing with construction toys include:
- social concepts like: cooperative, patience, communication and language skills
- attentiveness and persistence
- motor skills
- math skills
- non-permanence – the construction is likely to be taken apart
- problem solving
- science: gravity, ramps, fulcrum . . .
- spatial reasoning
- . . .
“One of the most important areas of play involves building with construction toys of all kinds. This is an important creative and learning experience for boys and girls of all ages. The benefits last for a lifetime.” Stevanne Auerbach PhD/ Dr. Toy author Smart Play, Smart Toys from a Huffington Post article
Attentiveness and Persistence: It requires a bit of being present to imagine what you’re going to build. Even if you are just stacking blocks, you have to decide one tower or two. Am I going to build a pyramid structure or just a single tower. (Of course, young children may not even know what a pyramid is). And then the execution; creating the structure you see in your minds eye can have challenges all its own. Getting that ninth block on after four tries, tower fell over the first three – SUCCESS!
Motor Skills: Fine and gross motor skills are being developed during construction. Stacking big cardboard boxes is different from stacking blocks or putting together Duplo or MegaBloks.
Science Concepts like gravity, ramps, fulcrums, cantilevers and counter-balancing all come into play in the simplest construction projects. Again, your child may not know these words much less concepts. Get a dozen egg cartons together and a project in mind and these concepts will become relevant.
“The next time you’re in a quandary over what kind of gift to purchase for your child’s next birthday party, don’t forget to consider a quality set of building blocks. The benefits are almost too great to fit into one list!” Anne Marie Margaritond - teacher Michigan State’s Pre-School Lab from post at nspt4kids.com
Social Skills: When children work together building they naturally take turns, communicate their ideas and negotiate solutions. Even if the construction project is undertaken single-handed, it’s very likely your builder will want to show it off and explain the process and result.
Parents, you can help. Get down there and play with your children. Maybe your youngest are more interested and capable of knocking down than building up. Build them some towers. They will appreciate your cooperation and dexterity.
Help with ideas and directions. Initially blocks are going to be great for color and shape recognition. Your child may not think for themselves but will respond to your prompt, “Let’s build a tower of three red blocks”.
Older children will appreciate the investment you make in toys and materials. This might be an opportunity to cost share and explain value, “Let’s see, the Lego set you want is twenty dollars. How about you pay five dollars or one fourth the total and we’ll contribute the rest. If you can find it on sale then we’ll all save some money.”
Parents, be interested and involved. As with most activities it makes sense to know what your child is doing. Did you hear about the teenager that built a nuclear reactor in his families basement? While your child may not be that extreme, she will appreciate your interest. Listen to them and you’ll get some insight to what they have gone through to have their successful creation.
Lincoln Logs, egg cartons, Snap Circuits, Magformers, ’Knex, Tinker Toys, LEGO, First set of Wooden Blocks or Stick N Stack. . .; Your family will benefit from playing with construction toys.