Why are Construction Toys Important in Childhood?

Why are Construction Toys Important in Childhood?

Construction toys are often a common part of a child’s toy collection but it might sometimes be hard to see the benefits of them. Whether it be a construction robot or a construction vehicle, these toys can help children to develop in multiple areas of their personality and skill set. The Early Teacher is here to explain why construction toys are so important in childhood as well as the benefits of playing with construction toys.

So, why are construction toys important in childhood? Through the use of construction toys, children are able to develop their problem solving skills, social and emotional intelligence, and even their fine motor skills. These skills then help children to mature into skillfully versatile and emotionally sympathetic young adults.

Keep reading to discover more about the use of construction toys in childhood, including why it is important to build things with construction toys and what type of construction toys are good for toddlers.

What Makes Construction Toys Important in Childhood?

Construction toys are important in childhood because this is the point at which children are the most impressionable and vulnerable to the environment around them. Therefore, incorporating construction toys into their playtimes means that they are more likely to soak up the benefits that they provide.

For example, a 2008 study found that when a group of preschool children were introduced to a program of guided construction play, they later significantly outperformed their peers on tests of spatial visualisation, block play and the ability to analyse 3D shapes. This is significant because spatial visualisation contributes to a young child's ability to generate, retain and transform visual images. Without practising this skill children may struggle to develop their spatial visualisation throughout their early years of education.

Furthermore, spatial visualisation and the ability to analyse 3D shapes are basic skills that, when developed at a young age, can determine the type of job a person pursues as they grow up. For example, spatial visualisation is the skill used by architects when designing buildings, the skill used by chemists when visualising chemical compounds, and even the skill used by surgeons to navigate the human body. Therefore, encouraging the development of this skill at a young age through the use of construction toys is highly beneficial to ongoing development.

What are the Benefits of Playing with Construction Toys?

Construction toys are not only fun and a good way to keep your child entertained, but they can also provide a wide range of benefits to your child’s development. The Early Teacher has listed the main benefits of construction toys below so you know exactly what to expect before purchasing one.

Fine-Motor Skills:

Construction toys are a great way to help develop a child’s fine motor skills. Fine motor skills involve small muscles working in tangent with the brain and nervous system to aid movements in the fingers, hands, lips, tongue and eyes. When playing with construction toys, children use various muscles in their hands to pick up blocks, screw bolts, click pieces together and more. In doing so, children are developing their fine motor skills which will make other tasks such as writing and drawing a lot easier as they progress.

Problem Solving Skills:

Problem solving is one of the main benefits of introducing construction toys to young children. Construction toys can involve a lot of trial and error whereby children come across pieces that don’t fit together. In doing so, children learn to identify that something is not working and that they need to try something new in order to solve the problem. Problem solving is a skill that is continuously used throughout our adult lives, so developing this ability early on can be very beneficial to a child developing into a well-rounded young adult.

Creativity Skills:

Creativity is another skill that can be developed through the use of construction toys. A 2015 study found that creativity is best developed when children are faced with challenges that don’t follow rules. For example, often with construction toys there are interchangeable pieces which means that there can be multiple different designs to be made. Therefore, when looking for a piece to fit with their design, children have to use their imagination to choose which option they want to go with. This encourages the use of creativity because children are able to determine that one piece can completely change their design depending on where it is attached to the construction toy.

Team Working Skills:

Team Working skills are another benefit to introducing construction toys to your child’s playtimes. Whether it be passing block pieces to and from each other, or collaborating with problem solving skills, construction toys encourage children to work together as a team to achieve their end goal.

Research shows that when engaging with construction toys, children can also work on their own structures whilst engaging and advising each other on how to solve problems. It is interesting to see how construction toys can encourage both collaborative play and independent play but both still involve the use of team working skills to help each other achieve their end goal.

What Type of Construction Toys are Good for Toddlers?

There are an array of construction toys on the market but sometimes it can be difficult to identify which ones are suitable for your toddler and which ones are too advanced. It is important for children to build things with construction toys to help them with their confidence and development of independent learning. Construction toys often involve an element of improvisation, imagination and even trial and error. These factors all contribute towards children’s abilities to be confident in their decisions and learn independently.

For example, when building a City Building Engineer Set, children would have to use their improvisational skills to determine the style of their design. This is due to the fact that there are no set rules to this type of construction toy. Instead, there are multiple variations that can be designed depending on the child’s preference. This can be very significantly beneficial to a child because it allows them the freedom to express their imaginative skills whilst also building their confidence through trial and error.

Using construction toys to help build a child’s confidence and improvisation skills can prove highly beneficial to children as they develop through school and into a young adult. Without being exposed to these skills, children may grow up to be hesitant in their self- expression and nervous with regards to tasks that involve them using their imagination.

Alternatively, for your toddler’s first ever construction toy, it would be a good idea to start with something from the simple 1-2-3 Build It! Series, like the Construction Crew or Car-Plane-Boat toy. This type of construction toy is simple in colour and shape making it safe and approachable for a young toddler. However, they have 3 different construction options which ensure they are still stimulating for your toddler without being too overwhelming. This can act as a great tool for introducing your toddler to construction toys and problem solving without being too complicated for them.

What's more, if you find that as your toddler grows they have become bored of their simple construction toys and require something a little more complex with more construction options you could try an Optical Science Lab construction toy (4+). This type of construction toy allows for more creative freedom which will encourage your child to use their imagination. It also has more complex and interchangeable pieces which means that your child is less likely to become bored and will spend more time working on their problem solving skills.

Construction Toys at The Early Teacher

The Early Teacher provides a variety of construction toy sets to help enhance your children’s creative and problem solving skills whilst also providing them with fun playtimes. Our range of construction toy sets have all been safety tested and selected specifically with your child’s safety, development and enjoyment at the forefront. For more information on our drawing sets don’t hesitate to check them out here.