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Building Blocks of Learning: The Benefits of Construction Toys

Child building a block towerThere are not many toys that stand the test of time, to remain a favourite and a staple in most toy boxes. Building blocks and construction toys have done just that, they are classic, timeless and highly beneficial.  The lessons and development associated with constructive play are plentiful and will provide your child with a venue for creative thought and problem-solving skills while honing their motor skills and fostering strong social development.

Intellectual Benefits


Your child’s imagination is the limit with construction toys and building blocks. The simplicity of building blocks is what allows children to design and create whatever they can imagine and determine the best method in which to make their structure.

Thinking Skills and Problem Solving Skills

Foster the development of divergent and convergent thinking and problem-solving skills, with various construction toys. Toys such as building blocks promote the development of divergent thinking and problem-solving skills as opposed to convergent thinking.  Because block play does not have a single purpose or outcome, it enhances divergent thinking in problem-solving as divergent problems have a multitude of solutions. Whereas alternatively, convergent thinking and problem-solving activities, such as model toys, only have one outcome or solution.

Through their constructive play, your child will learn what will work and what will not in the mechanics of their structure.  The trial-and-error nature of building blocks and other construction toys allows your child to determine the best possible method in which to create their structure. As they erect their design and run into structural inadequacies, they will develop the ability to identify what is creating the problem in their structure, why it does not work and how to modify their method.

Spatial Skills

Construction toys provide understanding of how pieces fit together, and encourages comprehension of differing directions, shapes and space. Through critical thinking about whether a piece will fit, cause the structure to fall down or form the shape they desire, your child will utilize and foster spatial reasoning. [1]

boy wearing a hard hat playing with wooden blocks

Academic Preparation

During your child’s play with construction toys, they are unwittingly preparing themselves for lessons to be learned later in their academic career.  Construction toys are wonderful precursors for mathematical and scientific concepts.

The mathematical concepts associated with construction toys, “include counting, comparison of length and width, names of shapes and how to combine certain geometric shapes to make other shapes.  Children are even learning the basics of addition when they discover that two short blocks will be the same size as another block.” [1]

As your child plays with their construction toys, they will also encounter concepts in science.  When your child’s blocks inevitably tumble over, they will discover gravity and will enhance their understanding of mechanics and balance. [1]

Physical Benefits

Gross and Fine Motor Skills

While your child is shifting, scooting, crawling and stretching to complete their masterpiece, they are helping to strengthen their gross motor skills. Small muscle development in hands and fingers through constructive play will help to hone fine motor skills as your child pieces together interlocking blocks or adds blocks to their structure with increasing skill and precision.

Hand-Eye Coordination and Dexterity

During your child’s play, they are enhancing their hand-eye coordination by understanding how they control their hands and finger movement and the connection between touch and sight.  Through picking up blocks and placing them onto the structure or by connecting interlocking pieces, your child develops awareness of how what they see is related to their movement. [2]

Social Benefits

Communication and Co-operative Play

Foster strong communication and teamwork skills through play with construction toys.  As children work together to build a structure, they must first learn to communicate their ideas, listen to their partner's suggestions and collaborate to find the best method.  Furthermore, by encouraging group play, your child will build confidence as they become more comfortable speaking and expanding their vocabulary. [3]

You can shop for construction toys online, or if you're still not sure which toy would be right for your child, visit your local store and ask one of our experts! We're here to help!

Continue reading about construction toys:

[1] Margaritondo, Anne Marie. "The Educational Benefits of Playing with Blocks."North Shore  Pediatric Therapy. North Shore Pediatric Therapy, 14 May 2013. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.

[2] Caldwell, Bettye M., Ph.D. "How Does Eye-hand Coordination Develop?"Articles and Topics. Fisher Price, n.d. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.

[3] Rebecca, and Jeff. "Benefits of Blocks." Parents Are Important. Parents Are Important, 17 May 2010. Web. 12 Aug. 2014.

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