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Building skills with Construction Toys

By Allie White

Construction toys are great for all ages and something worth investing in as this type of toy can be played with at different levels of engagement throughout childhood.

 

There’s more to construction toys than just Lego! (Although, to be fair, Lego is awesome and lasts for years!) There’s a whole gamut of toys that fall under this umbrella and all of them can contribute to your child’s development. Small hands love the smooth faces of a well-made building block and those intense moments when the second block balances on the first are worth capturing on film. Building the highest tower possible for the first time can be nerve-wracking for a parent as we know that the crashing tumble is most likely to illicit wails of despair. It’s a great lesson in perseverance, though, and of course perfect for developing hand-eye co-ordination and motor skills.

 

I talk about problem solving a lot but that’s because it is such an important skill for young people. Construction toys give wonderful opportunities for young people to start to take risks, learn from mistakes and problem solve. When the first few ideas don’t work, a child has to start thinking about why. They try different options until they find something that does what they want, and they then use this knowledge to construct more and more.

Being free and creative with their construction and design allows divergent thinking skills to develop (building with no particular purpose or single outcome). I’m a huge fan of toys that allow free building – Bristle Blocks, Lego, KNex and other such products allow a child to explore construction with no limits, a multitude of solutions!

 

To be fair, I am also a huge fan of construction toys which come with plans that, when followed, create the most amazing feats of engineering! Being able to follow instructions is as important as being able to improvise – it’s knowing when to do what that is the tricky bit!

I watch my children approach flat pack furniture in much the same way that they played with construction toys as youngsters. My son will lay everything out, count all the pieces and parts, read through the instructions so he understands each stage and then build in a methodical manner, ending up with something functional that looks like the picture on the box. My daughter looks at the picture, opens one of the bags of bits and starts putting things together, referring to the plans if she has to. It takes her a lot longer (with lots of wrong turns, breaks for tea, ranting at the poorly written instructions (!), undoing) but she too will end up with a functional piece of furniture.

There are some fantastic construction sets which have instructions for building awesome machines, monsters, buildings etc but also encourage children to then use the same pieces to be creative – best of both worlds!

 

Another favourite construction toy in our house is a marble run – that sound of a smoothly running marble as it plops though holes and clicks along channels is so satisfying! Such a great example of a STEM toy, building a marble run helps develop spatial awareness and an understanding of cause and effect – if I put this here then this will happen.

Toys such as these encourage children to be active learners (they generally don’t have a clue about the incredible amount of learning they are doing whilst having fun!) and they will build on previous experiences to develop their skills.
 
Construction toys are great for building independence through play but are also a wonderful opportunity for a family activity – which type of construction suits your family best?

 

by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds

 

As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.

 

Our mission at BrightMinds is to foster “a brighter way to play” to inspire your child to be curious about the world around them & encourage creativity in a fun & relaxed way.

 

 We curate a world-class range of educational toys, games, gifts & books which are good quality, safe and backed by our extraordinary customer service. Construction Toys are our speciality and a Construction Toy from BrightMinds is a wonderful gift for your special boy or girl. Backed by our 90 day guarantee we are the number one site for thoughtful toys for kids!


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