10 Reasons to let Children Build
Building and construction toys are the ultimate open-ended creativity toy for all ages.
Both my son and daughter (aged 8 and 2) love to build things (not together) and I love to watch them escape into their make believe world using simple, tactile wooden blocks or Kapla.
It feels like a nurturing play; healthy for their minds and bodies and I have seen them develop patience and persistence as the blocks come toppling down again and again.
Developmental psychologist, Dr Jennie Ito of The Play Kitchen, thinks toys that inspire creativity are definitely worth the investment.
“They’re teaching children to be creative thinkers; to be flexible thinkers and to be problem-solvers because there isn’t one right answer.”
Ito says that such toys let them feel emotionally secure to explore.
“It doesn’t always have to work out and that’s okay,” Ito says. Kids can fear failure as much as adults can and starting again when their building topples down will help them deal with this.
Research shows that playing with construction toys is good for children. But why? Here are 10 compelling reasons:
1: Fine motor skills – helps younger children develop muscles in their arms, wrists and fingers which helps with handwriting. Refines the skills in older children.
2: Spatial skills – encourages the ability to mentally visualise and rotate objects in the mind’s eye.
3: Science – helps with understanding of gravity and structural integrity (shape, volume, balance).
4: Creative thinking – the possibilities are endless.
5: Concentration, patience and perseverance – children keep on building even after their creations collapse. It’s also amazing how they develop into complex structures.
6: Maths – helps with pattern recognition, symmetry and proportion.
7: Communication and language – building encourages dialogue with an adult and other children as well as narrative and storytelling as they talk about the world they are creating.
8: Problem solving – develops a child’s ability to come up with different solutions.
9: Constructive play – exploration and make believe play becomes a mature form of play that allows children to strengthen inquiry skills and build conceptual understanding.
10: Heirloom toy - can be used by whole family as well as passed down to the next generation.
Find out more
Top 10 toys that kindle creativity - a Forbes article
The scientific benefits of toy blocks
Do construction toys help with STEM skills?
Theory of cognitive development in children