Building blocks have long been a favourite toy for children across the ages. We see the delight from children as they build a tower and then knock it down again but there is so much more to block play than we might think.
It seems that when it comes to play, traditional toys are usually the ones that still provide the most benefit. As with everything today, there are lots of options when looking for blocks for your child. There are shiny, fancy, pricy options but what your child needs is old fashioned, wooden, sturdy, coloured blocks in a big tub that they can access freely.
It is a simple activity that offers open ended and creative play and learning experiences. Here are 3 key areas that block play can support your child in developing although there are many others that I haven’t explored within this article.
- Imagination & self expression– Children are able to use their imagination by themselves and with others such as friends and parents as they play. It provides the opportunity to express themselves through the structures they create as well as through their communication with others.
- Counting & Maths– Not only is there an opportunity to increase counting skills using blocks there are many other important maths skills that are practised - skills covering measurement, symmetry, balance and estimation.
- Physical development– Not something that is completely obvious, but block play promotes the development of spatial awareness and develops hand-eye coordination as children reach for, lift, move and build with blocks, strengthening their fingers, hands and arms.
As with your mat, it’s an activity that can adapt as your child grows and develops. Having an area for children to practise these key skills are important. Our mats are thick enough to provide cushioning and warmth on cold, hard floors but the added benefit is that they are flat enough for blocks to be placed on and structures to be created providing an ideal space for you and your children to play for hours.