Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Toddler

The importance of constructive play in early childhood development

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  • Category Advice Column, Child, Parenting, Toddler

Not only is constructive play fun and entertaining for children, offering them endless hours of creative play. It has great benefits to early childhood development. Constructive play can start from a young age and as the child’s confidence grows, more blocks and shapes can be added.

Constructive play:

  • Helps develop fine motor skills – Constructive play helps build the muscles in the fingers and hands, which is needed as children get older and start more formal work, where they need the correct pencil grip and have to cut out accurately.
  • It develops hand-eye co-ordination – When playing with blocks, children learn to stack them on top and next to each other, and to do so without knocking over other blocks.
  • Children learn patience and to focus on the task at hand – While playing and building, towers fall, and constructions have to be rebuild or modified. Children will learn patience to start again and will have to concentrate on what they are building.
  • It encourages imagination – There is no limit to what can be built. If they can think it, they can build it.
  • It promotes problem solving, reasoning and critical thinking – While building these different skills will be used. They will have to resolve problems that they encounter with their constructions and take actions to fix it.
  • Children learn to work together and the skill of communication – While building with friends, they will talk about what they are building and how they are building it. They will also learn to listen to others and compromise on decisions.
  • It boosts confidence – The look of pride on a child’s face when they have built something on their own or have stacked their first blocks is priceless. With praise and encouragement, their confidence will only grow.
  • Develops Math’s skills (How many? How tall? Shapes and colours. Addition and subtraction.) – While playing these skills will be developed. They can sort colours and shapes, compare heights and weights. Add and take away blocks. The opportunities are endless.
  • Helps develop children’s spacial skills, which is important for reading as they grow older – As young children play with constructive toys, they will learn about 3D shapes and be able to judge distance.

Construction play does not only refer to building blocks and Lego. Children can be given a variety of different materials from plastic bottles and cardboard boxes. Different shapes and sizes will give them the opportunity to build creative structures.

Happy building!

By Samantha Bouwer, Teacher of Southdowns College Pre-Preparatory School

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