By contributing writer Marci
Even before we started homeschooling, I tried to sneak a little education into Christmas gifts. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t. There are lots of teaching toys that just aren’t fun. They aren’t fooling anyone.
I’ve found building toys are different. Building toys make great gifts. Almost all kids love some form of building toy, and kids learn from their play without even realizing it.
Benefits of Building Toys
Toys like blocks, Legos, planks, K’nex, and Erector sets can be open ended portals to an imaginary world. Kids can build a garage for their matchbox cars one day and a tower the next. Building toys can fit right into whatever kids are playing or are interested in at the moment. Kids are free to use their imagination.
Some building toys come with directions to create special projects. Kids learn quickly to follow these directions or be very frustrated when the project doesn’t turn out like the cover of the box!
When playing with building toys, kids learn how to recognize and recreate shapes with the appropriate sized materials. These toys also allow children to learn and model scale and proportion.
Children usually have a vision in their heads before they start building. Not long into the building process, they are presented with problems to solve dealing with things like stability, load, support, and material strength and availability. They need to figure out answers to these problems in order to get their structures completed.
Figuring out solutions to the problems above (stability, load, support, and material strength and availability) teaches them about engineering principles.
Whether with a friend, a sibling, or a parent, building with another person teaches team work. Different people have different ideas and different ways of doing things. Kids need to learn to appreciate those differences and know how to work with them to get a task completed. Creating together with building toys is a great way to work on that skill.
Building toys are great for those hands-on, tactile type learners. Giving them an opportunity to work with their hands and be active in a constructive way can benefit those children greatly. Their minds and hands are engaged with the same project. This is where hands-on learners thrive.
Kids Love Them
Types Of Construction Toys
- Keva Planks
- Erector Sets
- Tinker Toys
- Wooden Blocks
- Magnetic Building Tiles
- Lincoln Logs
How About You?
What building toys do your kids enjoy? What do they create with them? Do you ever use them for education? Do you give building toys as gifts?