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8 Benefits of Block Play for Preschoolers and Toddlers

There are so many educational benefits of block play in early childhood that this should be a regular activity in your home or class. Read on to find out why.

When it comes to play, traditional toys and equipment are usually the ones that still provide the most educational benefits.

Every child should grow up with a great set of wooden blocks. These will keep your kids occupied and learning for years.

Here are 8 amazing benefits of block play and the reasons all children should play with blocks often.

Cover image - Benefits of playing with blocks in early childhood

1. Increased Attention Span

When children play with blocks and begin to construct, they usually become engrossed and spend long periods of time on their creations. They often play for longer than they normally would on other activities.

This is because they are persevering to create something that they have a particular vision of. They want to build the tallest tower they’ve ever built or they want to make a ramp that their cars can go up to reach the fort.

This results in them pushing the limits of their concentration and increasing their overall attention span over time.

Developing perseverance and determination are great bonuses too!

2. Cooperation with Others

Children playing with blocks

When children build with siblings or friends, they are developing social skills – most importantly cooperation.

Building a structure together takes a lot of give-and-take. Children have to share blocks, agree on what to build and how to build it, negotiate the tasks involved and sort out disagreements along the way.

Building with blocks is a great opportunity for learning to work together harmoniously with others and towards a common goal.

3. Motor Skills

As children progress through the various stages of block play, they develop their fine motor and gross motor skills as they move and manipulate the blocks.

Gross motor refers to the large muscles responsible for big movements and fine motor refers to the small movements of the fingers and hands.

Developing these muscles is important for children to be able to do everyday tasks and to eventually have the muscle control to write at school.

4. Science Concepts

Many early science concepts are developed through block play. Children learn about gravity, weight, stability and balance as they build and explore.

By learning through cause and effect, children are discovering the properties of objects and how they affect each other.

Kid playing with blocks - making a tower

5. Early Maths and Number Concepts

Children learn early mathematical concepts from a young age before they start formally learning the skills. One of the best activities for learning these skills is block play.

While building, children develop many foundational concepts.

A child may be able to rattle off the numbers to 10, but only through playing with objects like blocks do they develop an understanding of the value of 1 object, 2 objects, etc. They develop one-to-one correspondence.

Blocks provide endless opportunities for learning about value and numbers, comparing numbers, comparing sizes and lengths.

Children learn what it means to need “1 more block” to match the towers, why one building is taller than another, how to “take away” blocks from the construction or “add” blocks to make the ramp longer.

Through block play, children learn about number concept, measurement and geometry without even realizing it which is why construction play is so beneficial for preschoolers.

6. Language Development

As children construct, they will want to verbalize what they are creating. This is a great opportunity for developing vocabulary and language because new concepts and words may come up.

For example, as you question your child about what they are building, introduce new words to describe the building, such as levels, floors, ramp, stable, extension, taller, shorter, complex, etc.

When children are building with siblings or friends, they will naturally be developing their language as they discuss the process with each other.

7. Problem Solving

Playing with blocks - block play benefits

One of the ways building blocks helps a child’s development is that it is problem-solving at its best.

Just about anything your child constructs will require some level of thinking about a solution.

Before they start, they need to think about and plan what they will create. Then, they need to work out the mechanics of how it is going to work – how it will stand, be steady, be thick enough, big enough, etc.

And there are bound to be problems. The roof of the house may collapse, or the entrance to the castle may be too small. This is the part where you watch children wracking their brains for solutions.

You may not realize it, but this kind of thinking at such a young age is what develops the skill that enables children to solve math word problems or work creatively on their school projects.

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8. Spatial Perception

Spatial perception is the ability to perceive spatial relationships with the environment around you.

Young children start off by simply carrying blocks, then progress to making rows or stacking blocks. In time, they learn to make bridges by using two blocks to hold the third block. This shows a developing understanding of spatial relationships.

With much exposure, children develop this skill, which they rely on to function in their environment.

Ready to get your children playing with blocks?

If you’re wondering what kinds of blocks to get your little ones, here’s a tip.

Browsing through toy shops can be overwhelming as the toys and gadgets become shinier, fancier, pricier and more complex.

There are so many options for construction blocks and toys, but many are not really that great for proper block play.

What your child needs is a good old-fashioned large wooden blocks in a big tub or wooden box (like these). Small, flimsy, plastic or tiny alphabet blocks are not going to provide the same experience.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about why block play is important.


Would you like a year of done-for-you, ten-minute activities to teach your 3-5-year-old through play? Get your copy of the Learning Through Play Activity Pack for only $27.

Activity Pack for preschoolers

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Jayanthi

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

PLAY is a methodology which enhance a holistic development. Using blocks of any materials, bring about learning and its properties, benefits and creativity, in their own space of time for children, in a stress free environment. More over , blocks can be used for any age group, other then its seize, weight and materials to be appropriate to the target age group.

Tanja Mcilroy

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Agreed! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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