Building play is exciting to watch, and doubtless beneficial to children’s developing minds. Block play can foster creativity, enhance a child's physical skills, support cognitive and emotional development, as well as help the child develop social skills. While you can simply give your children building blocks and let them play, there are at least 5 ways how you can get the most from this simple yet so diverse toy!
1. Get down on the floor and play with your child.
Not only this is a great way how to spend more time with your children, there are numerous researches proving that in some cases kids can really get more from block play when someone demonstrates how to build with them!
As children value their own block structures whether or not they represent specific things, instead of asking a child, "What did you make?" say, "Tell me about what you made." This will encourage a dialog and offer the child new opportunities to explore.
2. Challenge kids with specific building tasks.
Here we have to remind that time to time you should allow your kid to build freely and to improvise. However, in some cases it can be beneficial to try to match a structure to a template. So we recommend diversifying this activity by occasional suggestions of a type of structure to build. Also, you can use pictures to inspire or guide a construction project. There are hundreds of books and materials online.
Sign up to receive GIGI Weekly Inspiration email and get an idea to build each week! Even though we believe in letting your child to decide how the ship, car or playhouse will be built, time to time we will also offer you some guidance and instructions of how to make the building look the way it looks in our example!
3. Use roleplay with character toys and other accessories.
By the use of appropriately-scaled accessory toys, like people and cars, you can encourage your child to involve in role play that may be something new for him/her. If you have tried it before and it hasn’t worked, don’t give up – switch the toys, characters and try again. By providing your kid with toys of a certain kind or story, it can really boost his eagerness for pretend play.
If you and your children have the tradition of story-time, you can even choose some of their favorite characters. This is how when feeling insecure, confused or out of their comfort zone they will have something familiar and safe. Give them the chance to build all those buildings, creatures or characters they have been imagining during story-time.
4. Encourage cooperative building.
As mentioned in the previous post about the social benefits of block play, cooperative building can help kids forge better social skills. Children learn to communicate through the discussion about details, ideas and they learn about the joy of sharing.
5. Level up the block play with accessories!
To maximize the value of block play, accessories can expand children’s experiences. To diversify the playing process and support the process of idea generation, you can use what you can find at home to further encourage kids use their imagination, for example:
- rubber, plastic, or wooden animals;
- traffic signs;
- vehicles of all kinds;
- rubber, plastic, or wooden people;
- small cubes or other blocks to decorate;
- small doll houses;
- popsicle sticks for signs and fences;
- tongue depressors;
- easter grass;
- pipe cleaners (chenille sticks);
- wooden beads for decoration;
- doll house furniture;
- cardboard pieces for roofs;
- boxes to make into buildings;
- tile, vinyl, or parquetry flooring samples;
- carpet samples;
- pictures of buildings, bridges, cities, farms, etc.;
- strawberry baskets;
- styrofoam trays;
- fabric swatches for tents, curtains, bedspreads;
- thread spools;
- yarn or string for cables or fences;
- film canisters for towers;
- countertop samples;
- wallpaper samples;
- cardboard tubes from paper towels;
- plastic lids;
- foil or cellophane.
Have something to add? Head to the comments section, share your experience or ideas that might help other parents to open mind to endless possibilities! :)