Construction toys are not just boys’ toys – they are for every child. Just as children should be exposed to music and arts, so all children should have the opportunity to play with construction toys, from basic building blocks to interlocking blocks, or the click or screw-type variety. Construction provides a medium through which children can express their ideas and what they have learnt, how their minds think and where thy are at in that particular moment in time.
Construction toys provide a concrete learning opportunity that literally grows the brain. Watch your child and you can almost hear his or her brain talking to itself: “Aha, now if I put this piece on top of those two pieces I have a bridge, and then if I add a piece over there, I can turn a corner.”
Construction toys come in a wide variety
- Basic wooden building blocks
- Click together construction toys such as Zoob
- Push together construction toys such as Lego or Megablox
- Magnetic construction toys such as Smartmax
- Screw together construction toys such as Meccano
- Train sets
- Marble runs
- Stick Storm, and more
Perceptual skills stimulated by construction toys
From the long list below it is obvious why construction toys are so important in the school readiness programme of young children:
Spatial awareness Motor planning
Problem solving Copying
Fine motor co-skills Eye-hand co-ordination
Concentration Visual discrimination
Visual memory Visual closure
Classification Analysis and synthesis
Part-whole relationships Number concepts
Fractions Creativity and imagination
Auditory skills can also be stimulated if the child is given auditory instructions instead of visual ones.
Vocabulary and language acquisition (colour, shape, quantity, position, direction, comparison words etc)
Construction toys grow the brain
Don’t ever underestimate the value of construction toys, whether your child prefers free play and creating fantasy or even abstract constructions, or whether he or she is very focused and keen to copy construction ideas from the booklet provided with the toy.
Your child is building his or her mind, developing mathematical concepts, spatial awareness, and an ability to translate his or her ideas into reality – to bridge the gap between thought and action.
Playing with a construction toy is a whole-brain activity. Coming up with an idea is the creative right brain talking and deciding how to go about it and what pieces to use is the left brain talking. Creativity is sparked by visits to the game reserve or zoo, watching a Grand Prix on TV or catching a train, to name a few.
Get your child building.