What are the Best Block Play Activities for Preschoolers
Let's face it, building blocks are the foundation of childhood play. There is a reason that they say the building blocks of life. They are our first toys, we learn fine motor skills with building blocks, but that's not all. Building blocks are the foundation for learning to count and to read and write. As babies and young children, they show us how things are put together and how we can manipulate the world around us.
They are the gift that keeps on giving in so many ways. They teach kids how to take turns and build friendships. They help them form major motor skills, and they enhance problem solving, maths and language skills. Social development comes through block play alongside self-esteem and feelings of success.
If all of that wasn't enough, kids also absolutely love playing with them. Building blocks are a necessity rather than a luxury for preschool kids. They are the best educational toys for kids*. With so many benefits comes many different opportunities for play.
So should you allow your toddler or preschooler to Freeplay with their blocks, or can you mix it up with a bit of structure? We've put together a list of the best building blocks activities you can do with your little ones to help them make the most of their playtime.
Build a block tower
Help your little one to build a block tower. This is a simple activity, and children can learn at a young age. Start them small and then grow them tall. The older your child gets, the more complex you can make the tower blocks. This is a fantastic way to show kids how things are constructed. It also improves fine motor skills and feelings of success when they build it tall without it toppling. The best bit, though, is the end when they get to knock it all down.
Build a Jenga tower
Not too dissimilar to a regular tower but with added layers. Building a Jenga tower together teaches your little one how to make a multidimensional construction and how those pieces fit together. It increases their STEM curiosity and understanding at a young age.
This tower comes with the added bonus of excitement and tension. When you and your little one take the tower apart brick by brick and wait on the eventual topple to occur. More than the fun of the suspense, though, your child will learn which blocks to remove without leaving the tower unstable. We think that's pretty cool.
Measure your body
Using building blocks to have kids measure their body is a great way to teach them how to build tall constructions. It also gives them a visible representation and understanding of how they are growing. Telling a child, they are getting big can be somewhat of an abstract notion in kids. They are still young and haven't quite grasped the growing thing yet.
A visual representation is fun and helps to solidify the idea of their growth in a tangible way. This builds mathematical skills. How do they know that they are using more blocks when they measure themselves this time compared to last time? By counting the number of blocks. If the number of blocks is more than previously, your child understands they are bigger because the number is bigger.
Having your little ones sort the blocks by colour teaches them to recognise things that match. Blue with blue and red with red. You can also have them sort the blocks with words or numbers, or animals.
This helps them to recognise what things are and where they belong. It also teaches your children language and mathematical skills and is super crucial for early-stage development.
Giant blocks for kids are a great way to help kids see life-size construction. Kids can build playhouses, chairs, tables and other life-size structures that they can then use. Life-size blocks foster independence in young learners. What better place to play in than a small house built by them?
Larger blocks for preschool children encourage gross motor skills, team building, sharing and leadership skills.
Create a block maze
Help your preschooler design a maze for their toys to get through. A maze construction allows kids to see a different aspect of the building. Rather than just building a tower upwards, your child will learn how to create tricky pathways and how to block off segments.
This teaches problem-solving skills but also creativity. The more your preschooler creates complex structures, the more inventive they will become until one day, it's mom or dad who's stuck in the maze.
Building block bowling
A building block bowling game is super fun for your little ones. It's another take on building the tower and knocking it down, and we think it's great fun too. Unlike the Jenga tower or the measuring tower, this bowl construction makes your kids figure out the best way to lay the blocks for a good smash display.
It is another fantastic way to form their STEM, creativity and problem-solving skills without them even knowing.
Puzzling out a floor plan fills up the morning before you know it. A floor plan puzzle can be as straightforward or as advanced as mom or dad decide to make it. You can use an area rug, a try or even painters tape to layout a puzzle floor plan.
Your little one will have hours of fun building their problem solving and creativity muscles while they try to map out the puzzle.
No matter what games you create with your preschooler, blocks are essential to the growth of their mind and motor skills. You can make the games as structured or as simple as you need to suit your child's age. Even if your terrible two or threenager just want to sit and lick a building block, you'll be amazed at the development that's happening. Kids learn with all of their senses, and cardboard building blocks are big enough that children can explore taste safely. Building blocks never go out of fashion.