Block building has helped both my kids become more focused and interested in the little activities they do! 😌
Block play is one of the most popular ways for young children to explore their environment through play. 🧱
I will explain why this play is so valuable for preschoolers and toddlers and how it can help children develop skills in critical developmental areas.
I’ll show you some examples of block play activities that are perfect for different age groups and share some safety tips as per my personal experience. ↴
Block play is essential for little ones when they are young, especially for their growth, development, and physical and mental wellness.
Before anything else, let me give you a brief on what block play is ⤵️
What is Blockplay?
Block play, or block building, refers to various play activities involving blocks. 🧱
As the name implies, the focus is on building with blocks – creating things by stacking and fitting them together.
The early years classroom blocks include wooden blocks, foam or rubber shapes, and unit blocks.
Kids can build with shapes independently or be helped by an adult to create something.
At my son’s preschool, the teachers also incorporated pretend play activities. 🙌🏻
Blocks are an excellent way for children to communicate ideas 🤜🏻🤛🏻, solve problems📚 and learn academic concepts such as shape identification ⭕️🔶and classification.
Children can build complex architectural structures by combining simple block shapes and figuring out how they will fit.
They can even design new shapes and creations- how AMAZING! 🔆
Benefits of Blockplay
Understanding the benefits of Blockplay is of utmost importance- and I will impart all my knowledge here. 🤗
Isn’t it cool to have someone give you first-hand information?? I bet it is! 🤩
Let’s dive in ⤵️
Blocks Encourage Children to Create and Be Creative
Block play allows preschoolers and toddlers to be creative in a free-form way.
I can vouch that my son started showing creative skills after I introduced him to block play! 😇
Blocks provide the opportunity for play that is very self-directed, allowing children to tackle a problem their way.
For example, if a child is playing with cars alongside his blocks, he may decide that the best way to get his car over the hill is to build a ramp out of his blocks.
Blocks Give Opportunities for Fine Motor Development
With their tiny hands and developing muscles, preschoolers and toddlers need opportunities for acceptable motor practice.
My daughter has already been exposed to block building- and she doesn’t love it!😍
Fitting small pieces together is a great way to strengthen the pincer grasp, which is necessary for writing and drawing. ✍🏻
Blocks also encourage finger isolation and following one line of activity without becoming distracted.
Small muscles in the hands, fingers, and wrists are strengthened as kids manipulate individual blocks. This will greatly benefit written fine motor skills when the child is ready to begin learning to handwrite. 🖊️
Blocks Promote Spatial Awareness
As children play with blocks, they use some of their most essential senses – in particular, their sense of touch and sight – to make sense of how these objects fit together.
I have observed my daughter trying to make a firm grasp of the blocks and giggling by herself when the objects fit 💪🏻
For example, when a child begins to line up blocks in a row on his table, he uses his spatial awareness to understand that the unions should be touching each other.
He may continue this activity by lining up more blocks – this time beside the first set. Through these activities, children help develop an understanding of spatial relationships.
Block play has more benefits than you can imagine, and no, I am not done yet!
Keep scrolling to know more! 👇🏻
Blocks Encourage Social Skills
Studies show that social interactions are significant in the development of young children, particularly those under three years old. 🤜🏻🤛🏻
One study found that children who engaged in block play with their peers had more opportunities to cooperate, listen and speak than children who did not play with blocks.
As a result of these interactions, preschoolers will become more proficient at developing social skills with other children and better listeners, sharers, and communicators. 👂🏻
Children play with blocks and learn essential social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and communicating interests with others.
And this is not just an advice; it is true! My daughter currently has better communication skills for her age than most others. 🗣️👂🏻
By doing a shared activity together, such as creating a tall tower, children are learning how to work together as a team. Teachers need to be aware of this as they introduce more complex activities and try to foster social skill development in all types of block play.
Blocks Promote Cognitive Skills
This is one of the most significant benefits, as per me.🤩
Children who play with blocks use their senses and muscle coordination to solve problems, perceive spatial relationships, and classify objects.
As they examine and manipulate different blocks (such as square or rectangular shapes), they develop critical cognitive skills that will be helpful in school and throughout life.
Blocks Provide Opportunities For Language Development
Children learn fundamental vocabulary words by naming and describing each block as children play with blocks.
My daughter even tries to give imaginary names to her blocks. That is cute.😎
Teachers who incorporate block play into their curriculum will also do this.
For example, when teachers play with groups of blocks as an activity, they can provide language development opportunities by asking what particular shapes are called or how a specific block is used.
Blocks Encourage Pretend Play Activities
Many pretend play activities that preschoolers engage in involve blocks.
This pretend play is valuable in helping children learn about the role of a particular object or concept in a story – for example, when I play with my daughter, I make her imagine that the block is “the giant.👻”
While this kind of play helps build fine motor skills, it also provides another opportunity for learning language and social skills.
Blocks Provide Opportunities for Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking Skills
As preschoolers build structures with blocks, they can adjust and change based on what they see or hear from others.
For example, if a child sees a child playing with this new shape, he may decide that this block needs to be removed.
Or if he hears another child say, “But you can’t do that because it won’t fit,” he may realize that the block is too big for the structure and remove it before anyone else notices.
My son is a classic example of being the second kid. 💥
Blocks Promote Visual Exploration
Although preschoolers are beginning to develop abstract thinking skills (thinking beyond reality), they often need to understand what those abstract ideas mean or how they relate to things in the real world.
Through block play, preschoolers have many opportunities to explore and make connections between real-world objects and shapes.
For example, a child might be able to build a rectangle structure but may need to understand that this shape is used for a similar purpose in the real world.
As teachers encourage children to explore the blocks around them, they also encourage them to develop crucial visual processing skills.
Blocks Provide Opportunities for Creative Construction/ Building Activities
Using blocks in free play or structured activities allows preschoolers to use their imagination to invent new structures or incorporate different kinds of blocks into an existing design.
For example, one child might want to build a house with his blocks, while another may want a car-shaped structure. 🏠
For preschoolers, it’s essential to promote creative thinking and encourage many different ideas and options.
My daughter prefers creating tall towers, which makes me imagine whether she wants to be an architect. 🏢
Blocks Encourage Comprehension of Cause and Effect
Block play can help children develop a concept of cause and effect.
For example, when my daughter knocks over a block tower, she can figure out what caused the blocks to fall by thinking about which one was taller than the others or how many blocks fell over when another block was removed. 😊
As children get older and begin working with more complex blocks, they will also develop an understanding of how gravity affects objects in space as well as the importance of planning their construction on a flat surface.
Understanding the benefits will not help- you also need to know some great block play activities. 🏆
Below are a few block play activities that have worked (and are still working) for my kids. 🥇
Let us dive in ↯
Some ideas for block play activities
One of the simplest block activities is building. 🟦🟥
Children can be encouraged to experiment with different things to build – such as a tower, a castle, or a house with windows and doors.
You could create something together with your child – like a house for your family pet!
You’ll need some large wooden blocks with holes on each side to connect them for this activity.
Be sure to have fun when building! 🚩
Preschoolers are learning about shapes, sizes, and how objects fit together. ⃝🔵
Shape sorting is an excellent way to encourage those skills while providing creative play opportunities.
To do this, look for “sort-and-build” blocks your child can use to create shapes.
Smaller shapes are a great option here; they’re easier to “fit” together.
You should pair up with your child and make a shape-sorting puzzle together. ⃝🔴
Or, let your preschooler select the pieces themselves so they can learn about the shapes of animals or objects.
Another great way to encourage preschoolers’ understanding of shapes and other objects is through shape classification activities.
For example, have children choose toys from a zoo set or some other set of animals and classify them into different categories, such as insects, reptiles, mammals, and birds. 🐸🐔
The following block play safety rules come straight from the personal experience of a mommy- which is me, of course!
Read on to know more.↷
- Ensure you follow the age-appropriate block guidelines on the block play page and in your home. These are typically based on the mandatory federal safety standards for blocks for children three and older.
- Place padding on the floor underneath large block piles – this helps protect your toddler from bumps if they fall or lose their balance.
- Be particularly careful to be aware of toys that might be too small for your child to use safely, such as beads, plastic figurines, or other small objects that could choke or suffocate your child.
- If you’re setting up a prominent structure with blocks like a house or car, ensure they can’t fall or topple over while children play with them (i.e., don’t stack them too high).
- Use soft blocks that won’t hurt if they fall on a child’s head. These can be foam shapes or soft fabric rolled up and secured with tape.
- Ensure all blocks fit securely together – you don’t want your child to choke on loose blocks. Smaller sizes are best, as they’ll be less likely to get stuck in your toddler’s throat.
- Be sure to supervise kids – especially when playing with made-up complex structures. Always watch your child when playing with blocks; even though they can be fun to build, there are many ways that block play can become a choking hazard.
Making and using objects is a fundamental capability for preschoolers and toddlers.
Learning to make these objects helps them develop a sense of body competence and confidence, which can help them in other areas of life.
Block play is a great way to do this!
As a mother, I suggest block play for your little one! 🏻
Go ahead, and help your baby stack on some amazing skills! ✌🏻
Frequently asked questions
1. What are some toys that toddlers can play with, either alone or with someone else?
There are several different portable toys that you can keep in your bag or car to entertain your toddler. These include things like cars, balls, and dolls. A wide range of puzzle toys are also available, which help develop your child’s problem-solving skills and promote visual-spatial awareness.
2. What fun activities can you do with your toddler?
Many preschools encourage parents to bring their young children to the school once a week or every few weeks for an informal visit, which can be a great way to spend an afternoon. Consider organizing a play date with another parent and their child so everyone can interact and play together. It’s essential to be aware of how your toddler plays with other children and ensure they are safe when playing together.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.