There’s a reason that building blocks are some of the most common toys you’ll find in preschool classrooms. Playing with blocks provides a wide-ranging, versatile learning experience for young children. The benefits of playing with blocks in preschool have been scientifically documented, including in a recent study published in the Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education that showed that children who played with blocks when they were between three and five years old went on to perform better in math classes in grade school.
Here are a few of the things young children learn from playing with blocks:
- Spatial vocabulary. When children build structures with blocks and talk about them with other people, they get a chance to use spatial vocabulary words like “under”, “over”, “between”, “on top of” and “inside”. They gain concrete experience with what these words mean by implementing them to describe their structures.
- Motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Building tall block towers takes patience, concentration and a good deal of accuracy in motor skills and coordination. Preschoolers learn how to determine exactly where they should place a block to keep a tower balanced and then use their hands to carry out that decision.
- Teamwork. Having children work together to build a giant block city is a great way of helping them to learn cooperation and teamwork. Everyone has to work together to make the structures sturdy and coherent, and children quickly learn to communicate their thoughts and preferences to their peers.v
- Imagination. Blocks are not inherently representative of building-like structures, even though they’re often used to construct models of them. This means children can imagine them to be whatever they want, encouraging creative play.v
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