Every Playroom Needs Building Blocks

Open-ended toy blocks give children an opportunity to explore without boundaries or limitations of any sort. That's why open-ended toys are perfect; they come in different shapes, sizes, and materials which will keep your little one entertained for hours!

Why Are Blocks Good for Kids?

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Blocks are a game-changer because they provide children with many different ways to play. They build, they stack, and sometimes (often!) knock them over. Children need toys that can be used in various ways to continue their exploration into independence.

Believe it or not, simple wood blocks are an amazing toy that can teach children skills they will need for life. They offer so many benefits beyond just pretending to build something – they help develop important cognitive, physical, and social skills in kids.

Blocks help your child learn hand-eye coordination as well as how to be a part of group play activities with other children–they can practice skills like sharing, turn-taking, and dealing with frustration when something doesn't go their way. 

Blocks are one of the most versatile toys in your child's playroom.

Whether they're stacking them up to build a tower, arranging them like puzzle pieces on their floor mat, or using just two blocks as drumsticks for a fun music lesson, you'll find that children love playing with them.

What are some skills developed with block play?

Blocks can help kids develop skills and abilities that will make it easier for them when they get older:

Develops gross and fine motor skills

Exploring and building with blocks encourages both fine and gross motor exercise. Imagine a toddler using his whole body, and all the balance he can muster, to stack blocks – it's not an easy task for a little one!

Now picture a seven-year-old doing the same thing – the precision involved in moving the blocks into just the right position is helping them develop coordination and fine motor skills.

Fine motor skills are so important because they impact daily life tasks. For example, the skill of bringing hands together, moving objects from one side of their body to another, and using the pincer grip are all necessary for life skills such as buttoning, zipping, and tying. They are also important for coloring, writing, and painting.

Encourages hand-eye coordination

When the brain imagines something, it is no small feat for the fingers and hands to make that vision into reality. By manipulating building blocks, children are perfecting this process – getting the eyes to communicate with the brain and the brain to relay directions to the hands and fingers

The value of hand-eye coordination cannot be overestimated. Besides being essential for throwing and catching, eye-hand coordination is also instrumental in the visual tracking process involved in reading.

Helps develop problem-solving skills

Through block play, children have endless opportunities to solve problems.

What do you do when your tower falls down?

How can you carry several blocks at once?

Which blocks should you use to build a bridge?

These are just some examples of problems that might present themselves during a typical session of block play. Through trial and error, your child will also build their tolerance for frustration which is a great social learning skills that will help them in life.

Increases a child's imagination

So what can children build with blocks? Literally anything.

Anytime a child uses an open-ended toy such as blocks, they are using their imagination. The builder can create whatever his imagination dictates – a skyscraper, fortress, or castle. Architects-to-be will never tire of creating.

In pretend play, a block can be a cell phone or a hot dog. There is no ‘right' way to use blocks! A block wall can provide shelter from a thunderstorm or the big bad wolf. Playing blocks with a peer only increases creativity and imagination.

Encourages language and mathematical skills

Another reason every playroom needs blocks is for the growth of language skills and mathematical skills. Anytime a child is using his or her imagination, language is a natural connection. Offering questions and concepts can enhance the play experience.

Playing alongside your child? Block play is the perfect time for narrating your child's actions and exposing him to language. Be sure to use positional words like ‘over', ‘under', ‘through', ‘on top', etc., to encourage spatial awareness, too.

Block play also encourages mathematical skills by allowing children time to experiment with shapes, sizes, and patterns. Blocks can also be used for sorting, adding, subtracting and counting.

What are the best building blocks for kids?

Every playroom needs blocks – but which kind? Toy manufacturers have responded to consumer demands by creating blocks of seemingly every type. Whether made of wood, plastic, foam, or cardboard, each variety has its virtues. Blocks can be smooth, bristly, and even magnetic.

Each sort of block has something important to teach a child.

From as far back as 1811, wooden blocks have been admired as an ideal toy for learning. Friedrich Froebel, known as the inventor of Kindergarten, developed a series of wooden toys for exploration in the year 1837. 

Decades after their development, these wooden toys underwent a transformation with the work of Maria Montessori, Italian physician and educator. Montessori found that wooden blocks helped develop motor skills while also exploring the laws of physics.

Wooden blocks are available painted or unpainted, and come in a variety of sets. Sets including only colorful square cubes are as valuable as larger sets with more shape variety – both are engaging for young children.

A boy plays with wooden blocks on a carpet building a castle.

Foam Toy Blocks

A lighter (and safer if being thrown) version of the standard wooden variety, foam block allow children to explore shapes and experiment with stacking and building. These blocks come in a variety of colors, and some blocks even fit together like puzzle pieces.

Jumbo Cardboard Blocks

There is something magical for a small child to be able to manipulate a relatively large item – these blocks are in the shape of big bricks, perfect for building a fort or just stacking one atop the other. Best of all, it doesn't hurt when they fall on your head!

Duplo Toy Blocks

The precursor to Legos, these blocks are the perfect thing to fit into the chunky hands of toddlers and preschoolers. For younger children, large Duplo blocks provide the challenge of building without the danger of choking on small parts.

Magnetic Toy Blocks

Completely different from wooden blocks, these building materials are 3D, translucent and magnetic. School-age children will especially enjoy the possibilities with magnetic blocks, which add another dimension to play.


Preschoolers on up will have hours of productive and imaginative fun creating whatever they can think of with Legos. Then they can take their creation apart and begin again!

Legos can be purchased in large general kits, which is the most open-ended choice. Lego manufacturers also make ‘kits' (Star Wars, for example) so that children can create their favorite movie scenes. 

The great news is that, regardless of when you bought your Legos, they all fit together flawlessly.

Now is the Time!

Regardless of your current block status, now is the time to take action! Already got blocks? Rotate them! Put the old ones in a cupboard for a month or so while introducing a new variety. Don't have blocks yet? Choose a variety to use with your child – and get ready to have hours of fun!

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