There are many high tech children’s toys on the market today that claim to boost a child’s learning potential at an early age but experts agree that many of these toys can actually stunt growth in key areas such as imaginative play and constructive problem solving. They stress the importance of old favorites like dolls and stuffed animals, crayons, and wooden blocks.
Simple wooden cubes are easy to store and last a long time. They can handle a lot of rough play and can be enjoyed for years or passed down and shared with little wear. They are appropriate for indoor or outdoor play and are easy to clean if they become soiled. If lost or damaged new ones are easy to find without you having to worry if they’ll fit together, unlike interlocking toys. They can be purchased already made, or you can make your own at home. If you make your own make sure to carefully sand down any sharp edges or splintered areas. They can be painted or plain or you can apply stickers or stamped images to make them more personal.
These unisex toys can be enjoyed by both girls and boys. A wonderful gift if you are unsure what a child already has since more blocks just mean more fun and bigger projects. They never dry up or run out of batteries, and can be mixed with other types of toys for mixed play. Children can build castles for their dolls, stables for their toy horses, or obstacle courses for their race cars. By challenging themselves to create environments for their toys they learn the basics of empathy. Horses need places to sleep and dolls are happier when they have neighbors living nearby. Children can learn about the effects of gravity and spatial relations as they play with different levels of structural integrity.
It’s also easy for parents to participate in playing or for multiple children to cooperate and work on big projects together which promotes the concept of sharing. Handling and manipulating builds important hand eye coordination as small children struggle to build ever taller towers or balance bridges and arches. They can be printed or painted with numbers and letters to aid in introductory reading and math. They can have pictures of animals and familiar objects to help children develop a better vocabulary.
To get your kids excited about building try reading books featuring imaginative building adventures. You could also associate them with actual construction work. Children love and are fascinated by cranes and bulldozers. Explain that huge buildings are made by people who played with these little cubes when they were little.