Benefits of construction play in early childhood

Home > News > Benefits of construction play in early childhood

Whether it’s stacking blocks, creating towers, or making houses out of cardboard boxes, construction play for toddlers is not only fun but also beneficial for their development. As they experiment with different shapes and sizes of blocks, they are also learning about spatial awareness and problem-solving skills. 

Construction play also promotes creativity and imagination in young children. When they use cardboard boxes to make houses, for example, they are using their imagination to create their own world and story. This type of play encourages children to think outside the box and come up with unique solutions to problems, which is a valuable skill in all areas of life.

In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of construction play in early childhood and why you should encourage your little ones to engage in this different type of play. 


What is construction play?

Construction play is a type of play that involves building, assembling, and creating structures or objects using various materials, such as blocks, bricks, sticks, cardboard boxes, and other household items. It is a hands-on, interactive activity that encourages children to use their imagination, problem-solving skills, and creativity to construct something from scratch.

Construction play can take many forms, such as building towers, bridges, roads, houses, and other structures. It can be done alone or with others, and it can be as simple or complex as the child wants it to be. The materials used can vary depending on the child’s age, interests, and level of skill.


Benefits of construction play

The benefits of construction play in early childhood are numerous, including:


Cognitive benefits

Construction play for toddlers has significant cognitive benefits, particularly in the areas of maths, problem-solving, and shape recognition. Here are some of the ways that construction play can help children develop these skills:

  • Beginning Maths Skills: Construction play often involves counting, sorting, and categorising objects, which helps children develop early maths skills. For example, when children are building towers with blocks, they may count how many blocks they need to make the tower taller. They may also sort blocks by colour, shape, or size, which helps them understand basic concepts of classification and patterning.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Construction play requires children to use their problem-solving skills to figure out how to make a structure or object that they have in mind. Children have to think critically and strategically about how to use the materials they have to create their vision. They may experiment with different configurations or approaches until they find one that works. This kind of trial-and-error problem-solving can help children develop perseverance and persistence.
  • Shape Recognition: When children play with construction toys, they often learn to recognise shapes and understand their properties. For example, when building with blocks, they may learn that a square block can be rotated to make a diamond shape or that a rectangular block can be laid flat to make a base. They may also learn about 3D shapes, such as cubes and pyramids, as they stack and arrange blocks.


Motor skills development

When it comes to motor skill development, construction play is a fantastic way to build fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness in children. Whether they’re building with blocks, creating structures with Legos, or constructing towers with cardboard boxes, construction play examples are endless, and the benefits are vast. As children manipulate and position objects, they’re improving their hand-eye coordination and dexterity, which is vital for writing, drawing, and other daily activities.

Additionally, construction play requires children to use their spatial awareness skills, which is beneficial for learning about spatial concepts, such as size, shape, and orientation.


Emotional benefits

Construction play is not only beneficial for children’s physical and cognitive development, but it can also have emotional benefits. Building structures, creating designs, and experimenting with different materials can be a source of pride and accomplishment for young children. It can help build their confidence and self-esteem as they see their creations come to life.

Construction play also encourages children to take risks, make mistakes, and learn from them. Through trial and error, children can develop resilience and a growth mindset, which can help them navigate challenges and setbacks in other areas of life. 


Social benefits

When children engage in constructive play, they learn to share materials, take turns, and work together to create something new. This type of play fosters social skills, such as communication, cooperation, and problem-solving, which are essential for building healthy relationships with others. By playing with others, children also learn to respect and appreciate different perspectives, leading to an understanding and acceptance of others. 


Ways to incorporate construction into playtime

There are many fun and creative ways to incorporate construction into playtime for young children. Here are a few construction play examples for inspiration:

  • Building with Blocks: Blocks are a classic construction toy and provide endless opportunities for imaginative play. Children can build towers, castles, houses, and even bridges using blocks of various shapes and sizes. They can also experiment with colour, texture, and symmetry, which can help them develop their creativity and problem-solving skills.
  • Lego Play: Legos are another popular construction toy that offers endless possibilities for building and creating. Children can follow instructions to build a specific model or let their imaginations run wild and build whatever comes to mind. Lego play can also help children develop their fine motor skills and spatial awareness.
  • Cardboard Box Play: Cardboard boxes are an inexpensive and versatile construction material that can be used for a wide range of play activities. Children can use boxes to build forts, castles, and other structures, or they can be transformed into vehicles, robots, and other imaginative creations. Cardboard box play also encourages creativity and problem-solving skills, as children figure out how to literally think outside of the box as they transform a simple piece of cardboard into something new and exciting.
  • Playdough Play: Playdough is another fun and tactile material that can be used to build sculptures and structures. Children can use their imaginations to create animals, flowers, and other objects, or they can experiment with different shapes and textures. Playdough play can also help children develop their fine motor skills and creativity.


Construction play in kindergarten and preschool

Construction play is an essential part of Early Years Foundation Learning (EYFL).

At Aurrum Kids, the important role of construction play in EYLF outcomes is promoted by incorporating a range of fun daily activities that help children develop a range of skills and abilities. Teachers provide a range of materials, such as blocks, Legos, and cardboard boxes, for children to use in their construction play. Children are encouraged to use their imagination and creativity to build structures, experiment with shapes, and explore different materials.