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Building Benefits With Block Play

Without being prompted, kids often gravitate toward toys and activities that encourage them to build. Whether it’s stacking other toys, books, and objects, playing with simple wooden blocks, or construction toys like LEGOs, that drive to bring their ideas to life comes from kids’ natural desire to learn through a hands-on activity.

When children engage in building and construction play, they’re privy to unique developmental benefits that can help them academically and socially. As most parents can attest, specific toy sets aren’t always needed to facilitate this — kids will work with just what they have on hand, making forts out of empty boxes and towers from plastic cups, using their imaginations all the while.

In celebration of National LEGO Day, which takes place this January 28th, let’s examine some of the benefits of construction play.

  • It improves spatial reasoning: Conceptualizing objects in three dimensions, including the ability to envision how objects would look when moved or rotated, is called spatial reasoning. While some people are naturally better at this than others, certain activities can help to improve spatial reasoning, including construction play. [1]
  • It increases cognitive flexibility: Switching back and forth between activities requires patience, focus, and skill, culminating in an ability called cognitive flexibility. Greater cognitive flexibility is attained through experience, and construction play is linked to improvements in the skill. [2]
  • It stimulates creative thought: The use of creativity, imagination, and role-play in childhood activities is developmentally important — it encourages kids to be divergent thinkers and boosts their social aptitude. When engaging in construction play, kids have the opportunity to focus on their own ideas, stimulating their creativity and encouraging the future implementation of creative problem-solving. [3]
The benefits of LEGO play - Infographic

To learn more about the history of National Lego Day and discover some fun facts about the popular building blocks, click here.   

Arthur Grant,