Between the newest dollhouse, mystery figurine boxes, and action figures of television favorites, toy boxes are fuller and more chaotic than ever. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your child’s playroom and their number of options, consider going back to the basics!
Some of our favorite basic toys are ones that promote problem-solving and more creative, imaginative play. We love wooden blocks for this very reason! Playing with wooden blocks is a classic childhood pastime that has been enjoyed by generations of children all over the world.
Why Should I Buy Wooden Blocks?
Wooden blocks may seem incredibly simple and straightforward but playing with blocks provides an excellent opportunity for child development. Wooden blocks are versatile and come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, giving your child the freedom to exercise their imagination and improve various developmental skills.
How are Wooden Blocks Good for Development?
Playing with wooden blocks is essential for young children to grow and develop in certain ways. Wooden blocks are phenomenal toys for little ones because they feel like classic playtime while also giving them massive benefits.
Five things that will improve when your child plays with wooden blocks are:
- Spatial awareness
- Hand-eye coordination
- Social skills and creativity
- Confidence and self-esteem
Understanding Spatial Awareness with Wooden Blocks
One of the key benefits of playing with wooden blocks is that it helps children develop their spatial awareness skills. Spatial awareness is tricky with little ones; they are just learning how to move their bodies and establish cause and effect. Block play helps them to hone those skills, which will help with lots of mishaps like bumping heads and stubbing toes!
When children play with wooden blocks, they are constantly thinking about the size, shape, and orientation of each individual block and how it fits into the overall structure they are building. They will start to understand how all of it works together. Spatial awareness will improve performance in other activities, like sports.
Improving Hand-Eye Coordination with Blocks
Playing with wooden blocks also helps children develop their hand-eye coordination and work on fine motor skills. As they stack and arrange the blocks, their little hands and fingers work overtime to help accomplish their goals. These motor skills are especially important for young children as they learn to perform everyday tasks, like using a computer mouse or tying their shoes.
Even infants and toddlers can improve their fine motor skills from wooden block play. While they may not be stacking and organizing like an older child, even learning to hold different shapes and throw them or chew on them helps little ones work their muscles and brains. As kids grow, block play will continue to support fine motor skill development well into childhood.
Wooden Blocks Help Children Develop Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills are important for kids and adults alike; every single day, we are faced with challenges that require critical thinking to solve. It might just seem like your child is building a cool tower or castle, but they’re fine-tuning those problem-solving skills, too!
When building with wooden blocks, kids are constantly faced with new challenges and obstacles to overcome. To keep playing, they need to think creatively and find solutions to their problems. Whether their tower keeps toppling over or they’re trying to create a specific color scheme, wooden blocks provide a fun way to learn critical thinking skills.
With Blocks, Creativity and Social Skills will Blossom
In addition to all these cognitive benefits, playing with wooden blocks is also a great way for children to develop their creativity and begin improving their social skills. Improving social skills for babies is simple and can be accomplished with parent-and-me classes or babywearing, but also with certain types of play. Wooden blocks are relatively simple toys, but they encourage open-ended play, which is where the magic happens!
Kids get to create an entire world with their wooden blocks and are free to come up with new and interesting scenarios. They may be slaying a dragon in the tallest tower of the castle, or they might be winning the big trophy in a race! Whatever they decide, their imagination will shine.
Social skills also improve with block play. As children grow, they begin to play with each other instead of just alongside each other. They need to communicate, share ideas, and work together to accomplish their building goals. They develop an understanding of cooperation and teamwork, which are both essential for success in all areas of life.
Building Self-Esteem and Confidence with Blocks
Many parents will agree – once children start wanting independence, a whole other level of parenting begins. Little ones crave autonomy and will try to find it in everything. It’s not always practical, and it becomes a great source of frustration, resulting in many morning fights over outfit changes and breakfast options.
When children are building with wooden blocks, they are in control of the process. They are free to experiment and make mistakes without fear of judgment or consequence. This helps them develop a sense of confidence and self-esteem. High self-esteem and confidence in oneself are both extremely important as kids age, especially as they begin to navigate tough school and social situations.
What Age Should My Child Play with Wooden Blocks?
Playing with blocks is an activity that benefits children of all ages, from infants to school-age kids. Infants and young toddlers can benefit from playing with soft blocks, which are safe for them to touch, grasp, and explore. They learn to hold and manipulate the blocks while learning about cause and effect as they knock down towers and stack them up again. Little ones will learn patience and perseverance as they become acquainted with block play.
Preschool-age children can benefit from playing with a variety of different wooden blocks, including large building blocks and alphabet wooden blocks. Since they have more strength and coordination, large building blocks can be fun to bump up the scale of their block play. Alphabet wooden blocks are great for learning letter recognition in a fun way. This is also the age when children start playing together instead of alone, so they can use their blocks to work with other kids and share ideas.
It may seem a bit juvenile, but school-age children can still benefit greatly from wooden block play. They can play with more complex block sets, like building sets that might include gears or other moving parts. These sets challenge children to think critically as they figure out how to create working machines and efficient structures. They can also be used for understanding certain science and math concepts!
Blocks Align with Montessori
You may have heard about the Montessori method and how it can benefit your child, and wooden blocks fit perfectly into that approach! Developed in the early 1900s, the Montessori method is an educational philosophy that emphasizes the importance of self-directed, hands-on learning and the development of independence, self-discipline, and responsibility.
Wooden blocks align well with the Montessori method because they are open-ended and versatile; they don’t limit play to one certain method or idea. In a Montessori classroom or home, children are encouraged to learn and explore at their own pace using carefully curated toys. Three characteristics of Montessori toys include:
Made of natural materials
Simple and aesthetically pleasing
The Montessori method encourages the use of natural toys, meaning they are designed to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Many Montessori toys are made of natural materials like wood, metal, and wool. They are designed to be long-lasting, which gives children a sense of responsibility and care for their natural toys and their environment. Wooden blocks fit perfectly into this mold and are well-loved by Montessori experts everywhere!
Montessori toys are encouraged to have a simplistic yet aesthetically pleasing design. They have to be interesting enough to catch the eye of a child but simple enough to encourage imaginative play and avoid overstimulation. They are often made with muted or pastel colors and avoid any sort of electronics, like the flashing lights or loud sounds of some of their plastic counterparts.
Toys That are Self-Correcting
A big requirement with Montessori-approved toys is that they are self-correcting. Self-correcting means that children can learn from their mistakes and correct their errors in their own time. Wooden blocks are perfect for this behavior because they encourage children to take the lead and don’t require instruction from a teacher or parent.
How Can I Incorporate Wood Toys into Our Routine?
There are several ways to start to incorporate all sorts of wood toys into your life. Start by purchasing a few simple wood toys or wood animals, like Wooden Safari Animals or some spinning tops. Don’t be afraid to let your children explore their new natural toys on their own; leave them out in their play area and watch their wheels turn.
Another way to incorporate wood toys into your routine is with bedtime stories. Bedtime stories are essential for kids because they provide necessary social interaction and help cognitive development. Plus, it’s an excellent time to calm them down and get those rare snuggles from your wiggly little one! Try incorporating wood animals into their stories about furry friends, or try alphabet wood blocks to begin letter recognition.
Wood toys can make wonderful games, as well. Try matching blocks with different colors or shapes to add a challenge to learning those topics. There are lots of other options for wood games, like this popular Balancing Cactus Game, which is great for the whole family!
Our Favorite Wooden Blocks
There are tons of different wooden block sets to choose from, and we love them all! If you’re looking to start your collection, here are three options we think are great for starters:
Powerful Women Blocks
The Women Who Dared block set by Uncle Goose is a multifaceted block set that would make a fantastic gift for any kid. This 32-piece set features strong women who have significantly impacted history in some way. From suffragettes to scientists, this set is the perfect mix between play and education.
Two sides of the blocks feature quotes and information about how that woman contributed to society and history. You can have peace of mind knowing these natural toys are super safe, featuring non-toxic ink and sustainable basswood. If you buy one block set, we highly recommend this one!
Basic Wooden Block Set
Every kid needs a simple wooden block set with endless possibilities, and this set by Wooden Story is the perfect option. They are available in a natural finish or rainbow colorway, suitable for any kid’s personality. Additionally, they come in several different sets and feature many shapes and sizes. Your little one will be building faster than you can keep up!
We love this set of rainbow stacking blocks by Bajo! This is a wonderful option for babies and young toddlers because the pieces are large and eye-catching. These large building blocks can be used for color recognition and learning simple cause and effect while building and knocking over the rainbow. They can also be used for building different structures; their curved shape provides a little extra challenge as kids try to stack and arrange.
Building Your Wood Toy Collection
Building your wood toy collection will take time, but it is a worthwhile investment. The benefits of wood toys and blocks for children’s development cannot be overstated. The simplicity of these toys, combined with their versatility and durability, makes them ideal for children of all ages. Handling and manipulating these natural toys help children learn about the physical world and serve as one of the best playthings for children in history.
Wood toys are often passed down from generation to generation, making them an enduring symbol of childhood and family. Wood toys and blocks offer a refreshing break from screens and digital devices, allowing children to engage in the world around them in a tactile and meaningful way. Even if you find yourself playing with your children’s wood toy collection alone, we won’t tell!
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