As a parent, you may be continuously searching for methods to support your child’s development but sometimes it can be easy to overlook the simplest of things, such as playing with blocks. In this article, The Early Teacher discusses the benefits of block play, including whether block play is good for babies, and how to support your child with block play.
So, what are the benefits of block play? Block play can help a child develop in a variety of areas including problem solving, creativity, self- expression, literacy, mathematics, negotiation, self-esteem, imagination, socially and even physically. Block play is a simple yet highly effective form of play for your child.
Keep reading to learn more about playing with blocks, including how block play promotes language development, as well as physical development.
What Are The Benefits of Playing With Blocks?
Block play is a simple yet effective form of play that can significantly help the development of your child from a young age. Block play is also an inclusive form of play that can provide a variety of benefits of which we have detailed below:
Studies show that block play and constructive play activities can have a positive effect on a child’s development with regards to an increased mathematical word problem solving ability. In fact, it was found that there was a 31.58% relation between constructive play and mathematical word problem solving, so getting your child involved with some block play could be seriously beneficial to their development.
Block play can help to improve a child’s creativity and imagination because it encourages them to use the blocks to create new structures each time. What one child may create could be completely different to another, and if they collaborate they can develop their creativity even further. The National Association for the Education of Young Children, stated that the ability to move the blocks freely and create endless combinations is what encourages the development of creativity and imagination most.
Block play can also encourage children to develop and manage their self esteem, because it allows them to create structures and prove to themselves that they are capable of new skills. Children get to push their boundaries through block play and try new things which they may not have tried before whilst also making mistakes which is a vital lesson in life.
Block play can also improve a child’s social skills because if playing with other children they have to learn to share, listen to the other child’s ideas, compromise, and also be engaging. These are all important skills for the development of your child as they enter school and even into adult life.
How Do Building Blocks Help Physical Development?
A US study found that “interactions with parents around block constructions” helps children to develop physically with regards to spatial awareness of shapes and objects. The study made a connection between early development of spatial awareness and competencies in both maths and science, which therefore shows the importance and benefits of block play at such a young age.
Block play can also help children to develop physically in terms of hand-eye coordination when they are lifting, pulling and stacking blocks which are all vital skills for helping your child develop into an independent and stable young adult.
How Does Block Play Promote Language?
Block play can be highly beneficial to language development, and a 2007 study found that block play is particularly effective in promoting language development in toddlers that are from middle to low income backgrounds. This is because typically, children from said backgrounds do not have the luxury or funding for mentally stimulating activities or engagements, which means a lot of their language development is based on what they view on television and experience in their everyday lives.
Furthermore, the study found that interaction between young children and block play fostered cognitive development with regards to language development because it enabled the brain to conduct experiments that provide information relevant to exactly what the kind of learning the child is trying to consolidate.
Block play can also encourage the development of language on a more basic level of increased interactions. If the child is playing with the block alongside another person they need to learn to communicate and express what they are feeling. This is significant because it gives them the opportunity to develop new vocabulary which, without block play, they may not have been given the opportunity to develop.
Are Blocks Good For Babies?
Block play can also be beneficial for babies, especially if they are made of safe, non- toxic materials that meet relevant child safety standards. Block play can encourage babies to develop strength in their hands, and even just develop an understanding that they can touch and hold things.
In particular, block play can be good for babies in enabling their attention span to increase. This may not seem like much, but for the development of a baby it can be significant because the increased attention span can help with alternative development activities such as learning to feed, crawl and walk.
How Do You Support Block Play?
As a parent, there are many different ways in which you can support your child’s block play time to get the most benefit for them. For example, the first thing you can do to support block play is set up a block play area in a safe and comfortable environment. This is important because it helps the child to feel comfortable enough without any distractions to make the most out of their block play time.
Furthermore, you can also help your child with block play by joining in with them and building your own block tower. This can be beneficial to your child because it helps them see things from your perspective, and provides them with ideas to help generate their cognitive thinking and creativity. Collaborating with you on ideas helps to build confidence and improve imaginative skills as you are showing them things they may have not thought of.
You can also support your child’s development through block play by adding more complex blocks as their ability develops. This will keep them entertained whilst also delving deeper into their cognitive development and problem solving skills by providing them with more complex issues to tackle and complete. By doing this you will be continuously challenging and encouraging the development of your child.
Block Play at The Early Teacher:
The Early Teacher provides a range of educational toys and activities for children to help them develop before, and alongside their education, as well as through block play activities. With a variety of building block toys, chosen with your child’s development and enjoyment at the forefront, The Early Teacher can support you in choosing an appropriate toy to aid your child's cognitive development through block play.
For more information on the toys available for block play activities clickhere.