A child’s development can be thought of as a ladder, moving from one stage to the next, higher and higher—the first step of the ladder being functional play. Here, a child is easily amused by the movement of objects and loves exploring the world with their senses. Following this step is a stage called constructive play. It is at this level where a child learns what an object can do.
As a parent, your responsibility is to support your child during these developmental stages, especially when it comes to constructive play. Here’s what you need to know to support your child successfully:
Attention Span and Constructive Play
When a child hits the age of two years, their attention span is significantly longer than it was before. They’re able to sit down and focus on playing with a set of toys for extended periods of time. As you watch your little one play, you may notice that, rather than mindlessly banging toys around, he or she will start moving them with a purpose. This observation will be especially evident when your child begins playing with building blocks.
As your baby becomes a toddler, he or she will begin to learn the differences between each piece of a block, sorting it by size, colour, and shape. Soon, they’ll start stacking pieces on top of each other, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. As they begin to use the blocks to illustrate their understanding of the world, they’ll build all sorts of things—towers, houses, tanks, trees, and more!
Encouraging Constructive Play
Children are highly creative, able to turn just about anything from old bottle caps to cardboard boxes into toys. However, there are toys out there dedicated to supporting a child in this stage of development and beyond. These great toys can include interlocking blocks such as LEGOs, Lincoln Logs, and Duplo Building Sets. There are art supplies as well such as crayons, paints, paper, glue, scissors, coloured pencils, and much more. Toys made for sculpting can come in the form of clay and playdough. Sand and water tables are also excellent pieces of equipment.
To encourage constructive play, look for toys that allow your little one’s imagination to run free and not be limited by instructions.
Benefits of Constructive Play
Constructive play not only allows children to exercise their creativity, but also to develop many other different skills. By playing with LEGO blocks, they get to build scenes from the real world—a zoo, a school, or even an airplane! At the same time, they learn to understand the world and process that information into their creations. Playing with water and sand teaches children how different substances work together, which is the first step to abstract thinking. With art supplies, drawing and colouring train motor skills that will later become useful in different routines like tying shoelaces and buttoning clothes. Finally, constructive play prepares your child for the next stage—dramatic play.
Every parent should make a point of looking for toys that will allow their child’s creative juices to flow. By doing so, they are giving their child a strong foundation during their development. Overall, remember—your child should be having fun. After all, this will ensure that they learn a lot faster and enjoy the process.
If you’re looking for a way to engage with your children, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!