There’s a wonderful variety of construction toys using plastic, like Lego and Lasy; wood as in blocks; metal, both new and vintage; and even sturdy paper and cardboard. Some construction sets are specialized for machines, race car tracks, trains, houses, marble runs, creatures, and robots. Just as varied are the kinds of fun and learning. When kids play with these toys they are:
- manipulating, connecting, stacking, balancing, etc. This strengthens the small muscles in hands and fingers and gives children the opportunity to develop eye-hand coordination.
- visualizing, that is making pictures in the mind. As an adult, have you ever had to look at an object and then had to choose from 3 or 4 pictures what it would look like from the other side? This is quite a challenge and this skill develops from lots of experiences and play.
- exploring space and measuring. Blocks of some sizes might fit in a space but some will be too big or too small.
- creating and imagining. These are powerful skills, at the very heart of innovation, that begin when kids play.
- solving-problems, organizing and planning. We often consider these as “work” skills but, to kids, they are fun and part of play.
When children play with these toys together, they practice negotiating, cooperating and other social skills. Kids are using language to express themselves, explain, and ask questions. Both boys AND girls enjoy playing with these toys!! Ordinary household items, like sponges and plastic food containers, can be construction toys. Check your recycling for a few treasures. If only we could see all the activity that’s happening in the brain as children play, we’d also see the value and importance of playtime. For a play-of-the-day can your child make some learning and kindergarten readiness connections with building and construction fun?