By Isabelle Anne Abraham
With the increasing popularity of online games and devices like iPads, simpler “old-fashioned” toys such as blocks and LEGO® bricks might seem a little underwhelming for kids.
But the fact is that construction play encourages creativity and imagination, and helps to build specific skills such as spatial ability.
Here we take a look at the difference between toy blocks and LEGO bricks, and provide suggestions on how to include each in your child’s regular play schedule.
Toy blocks, also called building blocks or just “blocks,” can be made from different materials such as foam, plastic or wood; and come in various colors, sizes and shapes including square, triangle, cylindrical, etc.
Blocks help young kids to imagine and invent new worlds, which requires a little more creativity from them. When using blocks, you can bring in other materials such as fabrics, figurines, etc. in an open-ended play format. In this way, blocks are mostly unrestrictive and have several benefits:
You can incorporate toy blocks during story time at night, when describing people, architecture and environments that are in the books. In classrooms or kids’ groups, blocks are great for integration into dramatic play. You can also assign children creative projects that involve rewards: ask them to draw/design something on paper first and then build the actual structure with the blocks.
This is one of the most—if not the most—recognized toy brand in the world. LEGO bricks are small, interlocking plastic objects that are durable, engaging and brilliant in color, which make them very attractive to children.
LEGO toys help to develop cognitive skills and fine motor functions such as hand-eye coordination. They are also incredibly enjoyable for parents and teachers, and are entertaining enough to hold the attention of several children at once.
The bricks are a little more restrictive than ordinary blocks because there are a limited number of things that you can build with individuals sets, which are generally arranged according to certain themes and environments (superheroes, famous movies, Western, etc.).They are also usually accompanied by instructions on how to create pre-specified structures.
LEGO bricks are suitable for young ones at various stages of childhood, with product offerings for kids from 0 to 16 years! However, given that they cater to such a wide age range, the ways in which children interact with these toys also vary greatly. The company provides a comprehensive child development resource that specifies LEGO-related activities for different age groups. Here are some examples:
The activities outlined above are general guidelines. If you have certain family traditions, like game night, you can incorporate the blocks and bricks into these. And, if you have your own suggestions for using toy blocks and LEGO bricks in child’s play, let us know in the comments!The activities outlined above are general guidelines. If you have certain family traditions, like game night, you can incorporate the blocks and bricks into these. And, if you have your own suggestions for using toy blocks and LEGO bricks in child’s play, let us know in the comments!