Construction play if one of the most important types of play you should include in your toddler’s life. It has numerous benefits that are proven to be extremely valuable in your little one’s development.
This is the first post of a series I’m starting called “types of play”. It’s specially designated for toddlers. Throughout this series you’ll find out more about them, what are the benefits and how to incorporate them into your toddler’s life and education.
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Construction Play. What is it?
Construction play is exactly as the name states. Your child will construct or build something new using toy elements or real-life materials.
It is very important in your child’s early development stages. Studies show that this makes a huge difference in the way kids think or complete certain tasks.
By using open-ended materials it allows children to reflect on the materials used.
It can also involve playing or building with 3D materials such as blocks. Other constructive play alternatives where the little ones can decide what to do are:
- wooden bricks
- measuring weights
- stacking & sorting
- assembling or disassembling
- building with any other recycled materials, such as cardboard boxes.
This freedom helps them think outside the box and make decisions based on what they learn or see.
What are the benefits of construction play?
Besides fun and engaging,
- Fine motor skills – refers to your child’s ability to control small muscles – hands, fingers. These are essential for a more developed body. But more importantly, for grasping, coordination and even writing;
- Gross motor skills – involves all the large muscles of arms, legs and torso. These are usually acquired at a very young age as your child learns how to crawl, walk, run, etc. Both fine and gross motor skills are required to manipulate and handle the materials in order to construct something.
- Creativity – is very important in everyone’s life. You don’t have to be an artist to be creative. There are so many occasions when people must think outside the box. Sometimes it’s also involved rational thinking and letting the creative side out. So this step is essential for toddlers and kids as well. Another huge bonus is to see how ideas come to life.
- Problem-solving – construction toys are the perfect way for a child to learn how to solve an issue. Trial and error is a great method to learn what works and what not.
- Hand-eye coordination – we all use it whenever we do something with our hands. Babies are no different. As they grow up you see them getting better and better at it. The way these works is. When the eyes see something. It sends certain signals to the brain. Then, the brain sends signals to the hands by “telling” them how to move and how to create a certain shape.
- Perseverance – is another important ability your child will face and have to learn. Building something can be very challenging and difficult, especially for young children. So not giving up and keep on trying, even if it’s difficult are required in constructive play.
work – it’s very important for every child to be able to work or play in a team. This will be extremely helpful for them later on in adulthood. Some tasks need many people to complete them. So, by doing this, it will increase their social skills and learn how to become a team player.
You might also like:
- Educational Toys for 9 to 12 months old | My Son’s Favourites
- 7 Developmental Toys for your 6 month old
Example of construction toys
As a parent, I know how hard it can be to choose the appropriate toys for your little one. That’s why I listed some of our favourite toys here. Feel free to use them as inspiration.
Lego Duplo My First Bricks. This is the perfect first Duplo set to introduce to your toddler. It has 80 colourful pieces in various shapes and colours. In the box, there are 5 cards with instructions to build a heart, a flower, a helicopter, a fish and a duck. But the building possibilities are endless. Includes double-sided decorated bricks and a propeller. These are the perfect finishing touches to showcase the end project. Buy on Amazon now
Wooden Building Blocks. These are beneficial for any baby or toddler. Not only they will improve your child fine motor skills. It will also develop their cognitive skills and brain development. The market is full of lovely wooden building blocks and colourful ones. It doesn’t matter what blocks you have, they all do the same thing. My favourites are on Etsy. Buy on Etsy now
Magnetic Blocks. These are better suited for older children, but toddlers can enjoy them too. They get to experiment and learn about tridimensional shapes. It’s a great way of learning and developing shape recognition and patterns. It’s great for sorting and stacking too. Possibilities are endless. Buy on Amazon now
Wooden Race Track. These are a great way to incorporate fun and creativity. It’s a 50+ pieces set that includes scenery items and 3 cars. It may be a bit advanced for a 1 year old, but it’s one of those pieces that last a long time. So great as a gift. Buy on Amazon now
VTech Baby Toot-Toot Drivers Deluxe Track Set. We got this as a gift at my son’s first birthday. He didn’t play with it as much at first, but he started enjoying putting the track together. The only down side to this track set is that you’d have to buy the cars separately. For older kids, there are some extra items (garage) that can be added in order to form a more advanced toy.
No matter how many toys your child has, sometimes is not enough. You will often see your toddler playing with totally different things. This is a normal thing to do, especially in those early ages.
So to give you more ideas, I listed some of our favourite activities you can try at home with your little boy.
Posibilities are endless and Pinterest is full of ideas.
- building forts out of blankets or bed sheets
- playdoh activities
- create a construction site sensory bin
- building sand castles
- put together a car or train track
- create tunnels for cars or big enough to fit your child through them
- put together a farm
- cardboard box house
- creat ramps or marble run
- build a plastic cup tower
- create castles out of toilet roll
- build a bridge using craft sticks and plastic cups
- create foam towers – this activity is more for parents, but your toddler will enjoy it too
- use cereal boxes as giant building blocks
- make your own sponge blocks
- create shape houses using craft sticks
- create a play town or small world
- feed the lego monsters
- cardboard maze
- stacking whatever you have on hand
- assemble or disassemble anything you like