Among the multitude of educational games available for our children, the construction game particularly stands out. Its use, its versatility and its variety of shapes make this game one of the most popular and effective for entertaining our little ones.
- Résummaryé of the benefits for children
- Séselect the one that best suits to your child
- List of different types of construction games
- A few little tips
REAL BENEFITS FOR OUR CHILDREN
✔ Creativity and imagination
Children learn many skills by playing with construction sets. They are a way for children to express their creativity, to imagine their own designs, to test concepts as well as to discover the world around them. They also allow them to make their parents proud with concrete constructionsèto show them!
Discover our article on the subject: "Creative games: why is it important for children? ".
✔ Help with motor skills and spatial reference
Children's construction toys allow children of all ages to acquire a series of transferable skills, which help them today and in the future. For bébé and preschoolers, construction toys help develop fine motor skills, visual skills, spatial awareness and motor planning skills.
(@ Canva / Game for fine motor skills)
✔ Science notions
For older children, construction toys are ideal for bringing STEM concepts (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to life through fun and practical activities. Interactive play in the real world is essential to helping children make rich, meaningful connections to STEM concepts.
Children's construction toys also help develop a wide range of communication and social-emotional learning skills. Building games build children's confidence, resilience and independence when playing alone, and collaboration and social skills when playing in groups. They are therefore an integral part of educational games.
(@ Canva/ STEM educational games)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN GAMES AND BUILDING BLOCKS
Choose blocks that are safe and age-appropriate for your child. The smaller the block, the older the child should be before playing with it.Between the ages of one and two, children should acquire the motor skills and dexterity needed to be able to stack and sort blocks.
For a baby it is entirely possible to play with silicone games from the top of their high chair before or after a meal. The advantage of silicone is that baby can put it in his mouth without any danger and drop it 100 times without even breaking his ears.
Playing with building blocks can teach children cause and effect, strengthen gross motor skills, dexterity and fine motor skills, and improve sensory play skills. For toddlers and babies, large, lightweight blocks will allow them to stack, carry and create. Older children of school age will likely enjoy the smaller blocks with detailed designs that allow them to bring their imaginations to life.
Not only are cubes fun, they have long-term benefits, like developing hand strength that will help them learn to write one day.
(@ Canva / Activity by age group)
Choose blocks that are safe and durable. They should be easy to clean, as young children can still put some blocks in their mouths. Many plastic blocks are dishwasher safe and others can be cleaned with baby wipes or a mild cleaning product.
When thinking about durability, also consider the age of the child who will play with the blocks. Older children may be able to manage toys and keep them in tip-top shape, whereas a toddler may be rougher with blocks.
📚 Play value
Like the rest of their toys, blocks that are fun will be used. Again, age comes into play when considering entertainment value. Younger children may find the small LEGO-style blocks too difficult to use and become bored with them. On the other hand, school-age children may not find giant blocks really fun or entertaining. According to Dr. Shafi, “By building with physical objects, children learn spatial skills such as “above,” “below,” and “beside.” They will learn to problem solve to know how things fit together."
WHAT KIND OF CONSTRUCTION GAMES?
We can list a multitude of construction games, so here is a non-exhaustive list of the most popular among parents but especially among children:
It is one of the most popular toys in history - if we put together all the bricks sold each year, they would reach more than ten times the world, and more 400 million children play with these bricks every year. The secret to its enduring success is its versatility: six eight-branched LEGO pieces can be combined in 915 million different ways (literally) and building towers, bridges, cities and mountains reinforces the spatial, logical and mathematical skills while being a lot of fun. Our grandparents knew Lego, we knew Lego as children and now as parents! It's our children's turn to have fun with this timeless construction kit.
⭐MAGNETIC GAME IN GEOMETRIC SHAPE
A practical way to encourage your child to explore shapes, Magnet-Go™ are magnetic construction toys made from hard plastic.
Children can connect them together to create different structures, developing their geometric reasoning by building 2D nets and 3D shapes, from simple cubes to amazing rhombicuboctahedra! The results are worthy of modern art and adults find the construction process just as captivating as children!
(@ The Smart Child / Magnetic construction game)
A game several centuries old and which no longer needs to be presented, dominoes are always present when we talk about construction games. The shape remains the same but the colors and numbers vary allowing children, but also adults to let their imagination run wild! It's often with the simplest things that we have the most fun, the domino is the perfect example!
(@ L'Enfant Malin / Wooden domino game)
If you're looking for a great way to encourage the development of problem-solving skills, you can't miss the Marble Run. With a huge range of marble sets available, both wooden and plastic, most sets include a combination of straight and curved tracks, slopes, supporting pieces and accessories (functional and decorative ). The pieces can be arranged in many different ways, each sending the balls through the system on a new course.It is this flexibility and openness that promotes problem solving and creative thinking. Learning while having fun has never été as true as with this construction kit!
(@ L'Enfant Malin / Marble track)
⭐MAGNET-ME™ MAGNETIC GAME
Magnet-Me™ a magnetic discovery activity that allows children to discover the wonders of magnetism and the fascinating world of construction, in complete safety. The extra-large parts allow small children to handle them easily and reassure parents. A whole new way of seeing educational games with very atypical movement and rotation possibilities. To try!
⭐THE LITTLE HANDYMAN’S BOX
Bricorigolo™ can also be classified in the categoryégories of imitation games but they are to in their place here. A superb case for building a multitude of shapes and objects with real tools! The child will finally be able to help mom or dad with house repairs!
(@ L'Enfant Malin / Les BricoRigolo wooden tool box)
It might été be wise to start with this game which is quite simply the basis of construction games. Wooden or plastic blocks of different shapes and colors are known and loved by all children. Their simplicityand of use allows children to express themselves freely as they wish and in a very spontaneousée way.
The list is still long and we could also have mentioned the indémodable Meccano, Barrel de construction straws, the Lego Duplo, the Kapla etc.
⚡ It is andalso important to keep in mind that the choice of the number of pieces for construction sets is very important. Not enough pieces could slow down and frustrate your toddler's imagination. Conversely, too many pieces could stress him out and make him lose focus.
ARE CONSTRUCTION GAMES BETTER EDUCATIONAL TOYS THAN OTHERS?
The best educational toys are those that spark your child's interest and imagination, which means which toys your child will enjoy the most depends solely on your child. However, there are several types of toys which each offer different educational possibilities including construction games which combine the main educational advantages.
If you want to make a intelligent and educational gift that will please both the child and his/her parents, the construction game is undoubtedly the most reliable option for you have!
(@ L’Enfant Malin / Range of construction games)
1. Involve young children by participating yourself - and bringing them into the spatial conversation.
Research suggests that children enjoy construction games more when someone shows them how to build with them. Children also benefit when we talk about spatial ideas with them.
2. Encourage cooperative construction projects.
Young children sometimes need help breaking the ice, so take on the role of party host to start joint building projects.
3. Challenge children with specific construction tasks.
Freewheeling block play is important. But as we have seen, it is likely that children also gain particular benefits from trying to match a structure to a pattern. To begin, propose a type of structure to build. You can use images and diagrams to inspire or guide a construction project.
4. Remember that fantasy is a valuable aspect of play, even play with building blocks.
Construction play seems so mechanical that it's easy to think only about developing practical engineering skills. But children also benefit from fantasy and imagination.
So if your child's block play seems more focused on fantasy than engineering, they still get important cognitive benefits.
5. Spark interest in toy blocks by giving children character toys and other accessories.
Is your child a reluctant builder? Also provide them with appropriately sized accessory toys, such as people and cars. These toys give children ideas for building projects (for example, a barn for a miniature cow) and encourage role play.
6. Combine block play with story time.
Researcher Janie Heisner used blocks and block props to illustrate parts of the short stories she read to children at a preschool (Heisner 2005) . After each story, the children had access to the accessories. This tactic seemed to increase pretend play. She also gave the children ideas for objects to build.
(@ Canva / The little evening story)
7. Discourage your toddler from throwing blocks. Be careful that your child does not climb on potentially unstable block structures.
8. Don't discourage your child from knocking over their creations - it's part of the learning process, but make sure they learn to respect the creations of others.
Creativity, imagination, spatial reference, STEM principle, motor skills, communication and problem solving make the construction game one of the best possible educational gifts for children aged 1 to 12.
We hope that this article has been able to tell you a little more about construction games and guide you in your choice. L'Enfant Malin offers a wide variety of games and construction kits for all ages and tastes.Discover toys and kits that provide a guided play experience, and open-ended playsets ready to spark young children's imaginations.
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