Why Wooden Blocks Are Good For Creative Play
Open Ended Play Activities
In our society today many children are spending a considerable amount of time in adult-led structured educational and recreational activities, as well as watching TV and playing video games.
As a result, this leaves little time for the non-structured creative, open-ended, self-initiated play.
Also, with the design of many commercial plastic toys today which have limited applications, the children's ability to think for themselves is being restricted.
Many will only be willing to follow the instructions or build things that are illustrated, rather than using their creativity and imagination to construct an object of their own design.
Open ended toys like wooden building blocks allow children to be creative and also to think outside the square.
Open ended play activities are ones in which there is just not one answer to a problem. There is no "correct" answer as such, but in fact there may be more than one answer or way to do something.
This allows the child to have the freedom to try things, run with ideas, and to be comfortable in exploring alternatives.
Open ended play activities also allow children to make mistakes and to learn from their mistakes in a non-threatening environment.
Wooden blocks help children in many areas of their development. They can help to develop:
- Imagination (requires creative thinking on the child's part)
- Cognitive skills (using planning, strategies and problem solving to reach a goal)
- Visual discrimination (recognition of differing shapes, sizes and colours)
- Spatial awareness (a knowledge of objects and oneself in a given space)
- Fine Motor skills (develop co-ordination and dexterity)
- Experimentation (freedom to try, adjust, redo to come up with solutions)
- Independence (the child learns to direct the play for themselves)
- Vocabulary enrichment (when talking through their play with an adult or a friend)
- Creative story making (where stories have a beginning, a middle and an end)
- Maths concepts (counting, shapes, patterns, order, length, weight and height)
- Co-operation (through sharing blocks and ideas as well as packing up)
Wooden blocks are very economical toys. They are very durable and will not break or malfunction and can be used by multiple age groups within the family.
Unlike toys with limited options where the child will only play with them until boredom sets in, wooden blocks will be used by children in different ways throughout their many developmental stages.
In their first year they will enjoy stacking the blocks and enjoying the noise as they come crashing down.
In subsequent years as their imagination develops, the blocks will become railway or car tracks and later they will develop into zoos, farms or playgrounds.
Older children will experiment with geometric patterns and develop their problem solving abilities by creating more complex structures.
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