The Amazing Benefits of Playing With Toy Blocks
A lot of toys are becoming very popular these days: nerf guns, foam lightsabers, and more. Sometimes they even look for toys that can only be found in specific places, like wooden toys from Australia for instance, or a stuffed toy from Stockholm. But there is one old school toy that is getting attention again, and it is probably for the best: toy blocks.
Yeah, LEGOs are churning out superhero blocks and spaceships, but the very essence of construction play is still there. And you know what, our kids are apparently getting a lot of benefits when they play with those colourful blocks. Let us talk about some of them.
Remember how we use to play in school? We usually crowd around kids who bring toys that require multiple players, and although we were not close friends with them before, playing with them seemed like we have been buddies for years. That is what cooperative play does to our kids, and has been probed further in a research done by Roseth, et. al (2009). Research has also suggested that kids who play with toy blocks will more likely be social-savvy. For instance, in a research done by Owens, et. al (2008), and Legoff and Sherman (2006), kids with special needs developed good social skills than those who have been taught how to communicate with other people.
Problem solving skills
When we talk about idea generation and problem solving, we usually deal with it in either of these two ways: convergent strategy and divergent strategy. Convergence is what is called common or typical intelligence; these are problems that have one clear solution to puzzles. Divergence allows for more brainwork; these are problems that require a bit of creativity and usually have multiple ways to attack it like building toy blocks. Allowing our kids to play with toy blocks prepares them for divergent problems that let them think up creative ways to solve it. But do remember that both are not competing for thinking strategies, do not fret over improving just one problem solving skill.
Probably one of the most popular benefits of toy blocks is its ability to improve our kids’ spatial skills. In a study done by Yvonne Caldera (1999), they observed that the kids who were involved in construction play performed better in standardised tests of spatial intelligence. This has been proven further by Oostermeijer et al (2014); and Jirout and Newcombe (2015), which means playing toy blocks can improve the mind’s ability for abstract reasoning.
Multiple studies have shown that kids who are into construction play have improved mathematical skills. In a study made by Wolfgang, et. al (2001, 2003), kids who played with toy blocks at the age of 4 had a higher mathematics achievement in high school, even if they took each child’s IQ into account. Similarly, 6th graders who get into construction play performed better on word problems (Oostermejier et al 2014).
Pretty sure the findings for these studies will make you want to get your kids bucket loads of toy blocks. And you know, these benefits are not exclusively for people in the developmental stage, adults can just as much reap the rewards of construction play. So get those LEGOs out of their boxes, play with your kids, and have fun!