Block play is an activity, in which your child can do both – play alone or together with somebody else - friends, siblings, relatives, etc. Playing with building blocks is a great way to introduce children to cooperative play and teach social skills. Together they can interact and explore new ideas, share opinions while building and involve in discussions about the use of blocks, as there is a limited amount. Also, afterwards they can enjoy the amazing end result together! :)
Working together is the best way how to learn cooperation and sharing. While playing with the toy, children will need to communicate with each other in order to build things together. They will need to discuss how tall the tower will be, which or how many blocks will the most suitable, and who should be the one to push it all over afterwards. Additionally, playing with blocks, children can get to know the feeling of success, increase self esteem, learn how to negotiate and how to play fairly.
As other toys are added, the group creates miniature worlds which allow them to learn about their social world as they act things out with the little figurines. This provides them with an opportunity to explore emotions as well as helping them make sense of what they see adults do.
An additional benefit is that they can learn how to be responsible when they clean up after they are done with the blocks. Also this cleaning up can be done together, showing support and helping to each other.
Moreover, the amazing benefits from playing with building blocks have been proven in numerous researches, for example, autistic kids who attended play group sessions with toy blocks made greater social improvements than did kids who were coached in the social use of language (Owens et al 2008;Legoff and Sherman 2006). Other research on normally-developing kids suggests that kids who work on cooperative projects form higher-quality friendships (Roseth et al 2009). Nevertheless, numerous researches have suggested that kids become friendlier and more socially-savvy when they work on cooperative constructions projects.
Playing with blocks can be the child's first experience playing in a group, so try to keep an eye on how the process is going in order to ensure that this first experience is positive. This will encourage the kid to want to continue group play and not to go into his shell and play alone.
Our dear client Ilva Līdumasaw all this come to life when her child had his friend over at their house and while playing they ended up arguing about how the fortress should look. Then they realized that this will not work - if they do not solve this problem, there will be no fortress or playing at all, so they eventually discussed the matter and worked it out.
Communicating with other children and learning to compromise is just another one of the many benefits of big building blocks. While developing social skills, kids can also express their emotions, boost creativity, improve his/her physical condition, and help mastering new concepts and things like maths, vocabulary, and etc. But we will talk more about these in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned!
Tell us about your experience with building blocks and you child's social skills in comments below - has block play anyhow improved also your child's social skills? :)