Benefits of block play
The benefits of playing with building blocks
Block play might seem like such a simple activity and yet playing with wooden building blocks offers so many developmental benefits both physically and cognitively.
Building blocks come in many shapes and sizes from simple blocks of wood to clever magnetic blocks or plastic blocks like Lego that click together. Whatever form they come in they can be powerful learning tools as well as great fun to play with.
The benefits of block play include:
- Improving fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
- Improving cognitive skills including spatial awareness and problem-solving.
- Improving imagination and creativity.
- Encouraging maths, science, and engineering skills.
- Building self-esteem.
Physical benefits of block play
Building blocks can be enjoyed from a young age and a great toy for encouraging physical development and practising key skills.
When kids place one block on top of another they are practising their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Building a tower improves their spatial awareness and teaches about balance.
Even before babies are able to stack the blocks themselves they love to knock them over which teaches cause and effect as well as gross motor skills as they knock the tower over and crouch to pick up the blocks that have scattered.
Even the act of picking up a block strengthens the muscles in the fingers and improves dexterity which helps with everything from buttoning a shirt to writing their name as they get bigger.
Cognative benefits of playing with building blocks
The benefits of block play go far beyond the physical. Playing with blocks enhances problem-solving skills, mathematical abilities, language and communication skills as well as developing creativity and self-esteem.
Unlike a puzzle building blocks can be put together in many different ways so playing with blocks is a divergent form of play. Practising divergent thinking makes children better at coming up with creative solutions to complex problems.
Children learn to think logically by playing with blocks. As they stack blocks and watch them fall they begin to learn that the blocks need to be stacked in a certain way, that you can build a tower higher if you start with a wider base.
Blocks are also great for developing mathematical, science and engineering skills. From basic counting to learning about size and shape and discovering concepts such as gravity, balance and weight.
Playing with blocks allows children to come up with and test hypotheses, practise their reasoning skills and learn to work cooperatively to achieve their goals.
You can help develop these skills by challenging children with specific building tasks. You could start by challenging them to build the highest possible tower or a structure using the most blocks. And move on to giving them specific structures to copy from an image or creative ideas to spark their imaginations such as build a castle, a rocket or a farm.
The benefits of playing with blocks start early and continue right through childhood. Have a look at our favourite building blocks for babies here.