Why does my child need construction toys?
Ah, construction toys. So what are these toys good for anyways? Well, there are numerous benefits. In fact, almost too many to mention all here.
Obviously, it's fun for kids. If it wasn't fun it wouldn't have lasted this long. It's fun for all ages (and I mean all) because it involves their creativity, control, patience, discipline, vision and their sense of pride.
In return, they receive sense of achievement, sense of accomplishment, sense of pride, improved self-esteem, improved self-image and an all-around "Look, Ma! I did it!" kind of good feeling.
What else can my child learn from these toys?
On top of all the above benefits, somewhere in between starting and completing their project they gain other benefits such as fine motor control skills, spatial sense, problem solving skills and laws of physics at the very least.
Not bad for just playing, right?
Uhm... "Laws of physics?" Yes, such as gravity just for starters. While balancing the blocks kids learn that there's something invisible that pull things down to the ground causing the pieces to fall to the ground.
They might not know what it is called yet, but nevertheless, they start to develop detailed understanding of how this force works and how they can utilize it to their advantage.
For example, after a few trials, they might learn that if they place heavier objects on top while keeping them balanced, the structure might have increased stability allowing them to have the ability to experiement with odd shaped structures.
On the other hand, they might learn that having heavier and wider objects at the bottom will allow them to build taller structures.
Is there any downside to construction toys?
I've thought long and hard about this, but sincerely, I can't think of a single good reason why playing with construction toys wouldn't be good for kids. Of course, medical issues aside (or other equally important matters), I think playing with these toys is an innate part of human nature to express creativity and to learn by trial and error. While doing so, children learn important concepts that will serve them for life.
All this is done with instant feedback, textile and visual feedback, and involves various faculties such as motor skills, reasoning, etc... All this from just playing. Again, not bad, not bad at all.
Having said all this, I must say that different children sometimes show different preference, quite strong sometimes in fact, to the various construction toys available on the market today. So it goes without saying that it's important for you to make sure that you pick the toys that appeal to your child.
What kinds of construction toys are available?
There are so many varieties that it would be near impossible for me to cover them all here. If you don't see the type that you were curious about, let me know
and I'll try to add them here.
Building blocks: A classic that's in a class all by itself. Very few changes have taken place over a long period of time and provides endless hours of fun for most builders. Great for imaginative construction play.
LEGO: What else do I need to say? Doesn't the name say it all? One of the most popular construction toy of all time, if not the most popular. They've diversified their offerings, so the LEGO you'll see now isn't the same LEGO that you grew up with. See what exciting worlds of LEGO awaits.
Meccano: Built for the more advanced builder. With real tools and the possibility to create moving parts, Meccano sets itself apart from the ocompetition and offers a unique building experience for builders of all levels.
CAT construction toy: Built to imitate the real life CAT construction vehicles, these give a great boost in imaginative play for children who are into construction. Note that these toys are not to be built like the other toys presented on this page, but instead assist the children in doing their "construction" work.
"education at play"
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