Let’s start with a challenge. Take some wooden blocks, place them on the floor in front of your toddler… and watch what happens.
Difficult as it may be to believe, in a world of tablets and gimmicky toys that are branded up the wazoo, the allure of classic wooden blocks remains as strong for young minds and hands today, as it was way back in the 17th century when they first showed up.
With only a few wooden cubes, toddlers are able to entertain themselves for hours, building rudimentary structures, only to knock them down while giggling excitedly. Yet entertainment value aside, childhood development experts are in absolute agreement – wooden blocks are vital for building crucial skills.
It could be argued that wooden blocks are capable of building pretty much all of the crucial skills.
Hear us out.
According to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, each of us possesses a combination of four types of intelligences:
- Visual-spatial intelligence
- Linguistic-verbal intelligence
- Logical-mathematical intelligence
- Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence
Simple and simply brilliant wooden blocks facilitate the development of all four of these intelligences in your child. It all depends on how your child plays with them.
For example, lining blocks up will enhance visual-spatial intelligence. Figuring out how to balance blocks develops logical-mathematical intelligence. Placing blocks in position gives their bodily-kinesthetic intelligence a work-out. And should they haul out their blocks on their next play date, their social and verbal intelligence is boosted, as they play and chat with others.
Source information: National Association for the Education of Young Children
Which blocks to buy?
Yes, most children love playing with blocks, but how they play with them varies. For example, babies love bashing large, soft, fabric blocks on the floor, or even throwing them across the room. As they get older, babies progress to building and toppling, reaching a point (around the 1-year mark) where they can count as they stack three blocks on top of each other.
At the toddler stage, your child will be able to refine their actions and start stacking the blocks into structures, exercising tremendous creativity and enjoying free play. Here are our three top choices for your toddler’s toybox.
A lightweight wooden block set that offers plenty of different shapes and sizes, so toddlers can expand their creations to include all sorts of wonderful structures. Handily, this set comes with a quality canvas carrying bag, so it’s pretty easy to pack up and take to Grandma’s house. ($32.99)
More elaborate wooden block sets like this 52-piece Castle Building Set further develop toddler skills and abilities, challenging their hand-eye coordination and accuracy. ($34.99)
One of our most popular toys and for good reason, the 92-piece Constructables! Set is just perfect for older toddlers looking for a more challenging build. Wooden bolts, nuts, tools and building boards allow them free scope to create anything their imaginations can dream up, from vehicles to robots. ($34.99)
Guest post by De Wet Ferreira