ABC blocks have been around for quite some time, and there’s a good reason for that. It has been a staple in a child’s toy collection because of the numerous benefits it offers, especially in early childhood education. So if you’re thinking of the next toy to buy your toddler or perhaps, buying a present for another child, here’s why ABC learning blocks should be on top of your list.
What can children do with ABC blocks?
ABC blocks are well-loved toys because there are many ways to play with them, such as:
- Construction - ABC blocks come in cube shapes, which makes it easy for kids to stack them together and create different structures.
- Math - Parents can introduce math to kids with the use of building blocks, starting with basic counting and then gradually teaching addition and subtraction.
- Balancing - Children are fond of building tall towers using ABC blocks. This is a great way for kids to learn about the concept of balance.
- Reading and Spelling - ABC letter blocks are also a great introduction to the world of the alphabet. Parents can teach their children phonics and then proceed to three-letter words.
- Throwing and Catching - Wooden blocks are shaped for children to grip them properly. Children can practice both their throwing and catching skills using these blocks. But more than these, children are also introduced to the concept of controlling the power behind the throws and positioning their hands correctly to catch the blocks.
How can children benefit from playing with ABC blocks?
ABC blocks for toddlers are powerful learning tools. These simple and eco-friendly toys help develop several skills in kids as young as one-year-old. Behind its simplicity and straightforward play, here are the other benefits of playing with ABC blocks that are worth focusing on:
- Fine Motor Skills with Eye-Hand Coordination
To play with the blocks, children have to pick them up, grip them, and arrange them. This three-step process helps improve the fine motor skills in toddlers as well as coordinating both eye and hand movements to make sure they arrange the blocks correctly. The best part is they repeat this process for every block they manipulate, which makes excellent practice!
- Learn the Alphabet
A smart way to introduce the alphabet to children is to expose them to it. However, starting with books can get overwhelming for children. With ABC blocks, toddlers learn the letters one-by-one, which makes the learning experience easier for them. Additionally, when they play with the wooden ABC blocks, they become more familiar with the letters, which becomes a precursor to learning how to read and spell, and of course, talking.
- Promotes Spatial Awareness and Problem-Solving Skills
At an early age, children can learn spatial reasoning by playing with ABC blocks. Kids can improve their spatial intelligence through imagining or visualizing the shapes and the position of objects and how each shape/object relates to each other in terms of distance and direction. For instance, a child building a castle can develop his spatial reasoning through understanding how far the castle gates must be positioned from the castle door.
In the same way, children come up with reasons and decisions on why they arrange a specific block that way. A child can position a block slightly on the side than usual. He decides to do this because it can support the connecting blocks better. He may have learned this through trial and error, either way, it improves their problem-solving skills.
Studies have also shown a connection between spatial awareness and mathematical ability. In a study by the University of Delaware, children who did well in block building play scored better in the mathematical assessments.
- Stimulate Cognitive Flexibility
Cognitive flexibility is how a child can adapt to different stimuli, including how to shift one’s focus from one stimulus to another. This is very helpful for toddlers who reach school age. They become more flexible and adaptable to different tasks. For example, if a teacher asks them to build a tower and then asks them to copy the same structure in the picture, children with structured block play experience will have an easier time with such tasks.
- Encourages Imagination and Creativity
Whenever kids play with ABC blocks, the sky’s the limit with their creations. They use their imagination to come up with unique structures every time. And if the child wants to re-do a design, he will make sure he does it better. Kids also take pride in their work!
- Prompts Social Coordination
ABC block play alone is enjoyable, but when children play with each other, it results in cooperative construction. Children try to understand and accept each other's ideas. They build off on those ideas to come up with a design they or the group can agree with. This helps improve their social skills, which then helps them become team players when they grow up. Research showed that children who learn to cooperate in projects are better at forming higher-quality friendships.
How to get more out of your ABC blocks
Parents and teachers play a significant role in how kids can get the most out of playing ABC blocks. Here are some ideas:
- Play with Them - Kids learn faster and better when parents and teachers build with them. Spatial talk also helps them learn more about spatial reasoning.
- Challenge Them - Challenge toddlers to ABC blocks games like a spelling game. For example, show them a picture card and let them spell the word using the blocks. Building challenges are also a great idea. Show kids a structure template they can copy.
- Foster Cooperation - Encourage children to play ABC blocks with other children. Not only does this improve social skills, but children discover that cooperation and teamwork can create beautiful things.
- Encourage Make-Believe Play - Let children’s imagination take the driver seat when playing blocks. Set aside the mechanical play and give time for make-believe play like magic and superheroes. Using other toy figures like animals, vehicles, and people can make block play more fun and educational!
- Do Story-Telling - Incorporate blocks when telling stories to children. Parents and teachers may also ask kids to make prop designs with the blocks. Such activity touches on a child’s listening skills, comprehension, and imagination.
ABC blocks are always worth every penny. Not only are these toys sustainable and durable, but kids of different ages can play with it. More importantly, parents and teachers can take advantage of this learning tool to expand and develop skills in children. ABC blocks promote fun learning, and kids love that!