Ten things children learn from playing with building blocks

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Parents, teachers, and carers would all probably agree that investing in a set of building blocks for a child provides valuable opportunities to learn and develop.

For parents, building blocks such as Snap Ships are an excellent investment. The blocks are strong, durable, and fit easily together, ensuring the longevity of both the toys and the interest of the child. The biggest reward of building blocks is that they provide children with the tools to create anything their imagination desires, which subsequently helps to hone and develop essential abilities.

Philip Galliford, marketing manager for Solarpop brand Snap Ships, explains that when a building block system is versatile, it provides hours of fun for children. “A building system such as Snap Ships is an ideal toy for growing children as all sets and pieces are interchangeable, meaning kids can build however they want. Each set includes instructions that allow children to get a feel for the blocks first before they try out their own builds. You can add to this system too, so a child can grow their Snap Ships universe into something that they can play with for many years,” he says.

Below are ten skills that children learn from this type of play:

1. Creativity

You can move all pieces freely to be combined and recombined in countless ways. This means that there is freedom for kids to follow their own ideas as they embark on a voyage of discovery. Block play allows for self-expression.

2. Structured and unstructured play

Structured play helps children to listen and follow instructions. A child can be given specific blocks and then instructed to build a house by following the instructions in a manual or given by a teacher.

Unstructured play is when a child is given free rein to do whatever they want with their designated playtime and tools of play. With blocks, they can line them up, build with them, throw them into the air or simply feel them in their hands. Both forms of play are essential to successful early childhood development.

3. Social-emotional growth

Block play is a great way for kids to interact with other children, both of similar age and those who are older and younger. Kids get to share in their friends’ creations, they build together and explore each other’s imaginary worlds.

4. Problem-solving and reasoning

Problem solving and reasoning are vital skills that can be developed and honed from an early age. A building block system such as Snap Ships provides an ideal platform for developing these skills. This can be deliberate, with children consciously working to develop a solution, or through free play as they learn through trial and error.

5. Mathematics 

Blocks come in many shapes, sizes, and colours, offering plenty of opportunities for children to practice important maths skills. As they play, they are measuring, comparing, counting, and estimating. They are also figuring out patterns.

6. Physical development

Playing with blocks promotes the development of spatial awareness and improves hand-eye coordination. Children need to reach, lift, move and build, strengthening fingers, hands, arms, and core muscles.

7. Hidden skills

There are many other skills that children learn when playing with blocks and these are skills that go unnoticed but play a vital role in movement and thinking. Block play teaches balance, weight, size, and shape, and alongside this, kids are constantly comparing these characteristics in order to make things fit together.

8. Self-esteem

Block play provides a platform for children to test an idea on their own or amongst peers. It’s a chance to try new things and take risks in an environment that feels safe. It allows them to bring to light their unique idea and experience a sense of achievement.

9. A sense of self

A sense of self develops when children mix with other children. Taking turns, forging new friendships, co-operating, negotiating, and playing with kids, other than their usual group of friends, helps a child develop a strong sense of themselves. They get to know what they like and dislike, who they like to socialise with and what they like to learn about.

10. Communication

Vocabulary and communications improve as a child encounters new experiences. Block play creates infinite opportunities for discussion and learning new words. Social interaction with older children and adults unlocks further benefits, such as collaborative storytelling.

Snap Ships are available at Takealot and Toy Kingdom