There are many important skills children can learn and develop through building blocks; all they need to do is play.
Children are instinctively driven to play, which makes it a natural environment for learning and developing new skills. During play, children can take charge and make choices about what they do and how they do it. Play can be a highly social activity, allowing for opportunities to learn from and about others.
Recent studies by UNICEF indicated that play is an essential kind of stimulation that supports youngsters’ cognitive, physical, social, and emotional growth. Children who learn through play develop the collaborative, creative, and curious traits that are crucial for success in life and the workplace in the twenty-first century. Success in the future will depend on a new combination of academic knowledge, and character-based/ life skills, including problem-solving, creativity, and communication.
Ms. Cerry-Lee Chelin, Grade 0000 teacher at Crawford International, discussed exactly how these character-based/life skills and other skills are developed through playing with building blocks.
Playing with building blocks develops life skills and more
- Fine motor skills
“The ideal way to develop fine motor abilities is to use building blocks,” says Ms. Chelin. Through building, kids can create and pick up objects while exercising their fingers. Children enjoy the rush of creating, and they can do this for hours while developing their hand muscles that will assist them in learning other abilities, like hand-eye coordination and how to write. “Playing with small blocks encourages focus as they align the blocks and build them on top of each other,” says Ms. Chelin “They don’t realise that they are actually learning while playing, which subconsciously increases their attention span.”
- Sense of accomplishment
Children develop a sense of accomplishment when they have created something they are proud of, which is healthy for both their hands and hearts. “They typically start with a concept in mind and put it together from there. As they gain self-confidence, their enthusiasm inspires them to create items with more intricate features,” says Ms. Chelin.
- Persistence, perseverence and problem solving
Playing with blocks develops persistence as children get frustrated when their creations break, or when they don’t find a piece that fits. “That’s the beauty of playing with blocks,” says Ms. Chelin, “their creative thinking takes over and they try something else, in essence they develop problem-solving skills while becoming more persistent.” Building a structure is an activity with a beginning and an end. Few children would be content to abandon their construction project midway, which inspires them to keep going.
- Planning and value
Playing with blocks teaches children to plan their approach. When they have an idea of what they want to build, they will figure out where to start and what are the next steps. “They plan how many blocks they need per colour to build all the elements, which develops their colour and shape knowledge” adds Ms. Chelin. Children learn that each piece matters when they are given a limited number of blocks to use for their entire project. They start to realise that every block is valuable.
- Social and emotional development
“It’s amazing to see how children interact with each other while playing,” says Ms. Chelin. Cooperative play is encouraged as children negotiates with other children to swop out blocks, further promoting emotional development. Additionally, when children build something with their school friends, communication is used as they talk about their plans and voice their opinions about what they think the next steps should or could be.
- Mathematical skills and perceptual awareness
Early Mathematics skills and perceptual awareness are also being developed as children play with building blocks. “Children count how many blocks they need to get to a certain height, and they become aware of the sizes of different blocks which lays the foundation of crucial math skills,” adds Ms. Chelin. These skills can also be encouraged through facilitated play where the parent or teacher asks the child to hand them five small yellow blocks for example. Not only does it encourage early math skills, but also colour knowledge and social skills.
The abilities that children obtain from playing with building blocks are significant and amazing. They develop crucial skills that sets the foundation of their future learning from a very young age. You will quickly realise the advantages of letting your child play with building blocks, even if you never really thought of them as being educational.
Crawford International provides your child with an academically progressive, innovative, and future-focused educational offering that is both locally and globally relevant.
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