11. Wooden Blocks
Whether you need a castle or a cave, a house or a road, reach for the blocks. Can you think of anything that delights both babies and preschoolers as much?
From a baby's earliest attempts to grasp and manipulate objects through to a school-child's sprawling constructions, blocks are ever-present.
From birth to five, here are some skills they foster:
- lining up
- balanced and symmetrical construction
- tessellation (fitting together without gaps)
- devising and carrying out a plan
- assessing and correcting
There are language benefits, too. Prepositions such as 'on top of', 'under', 'behind', 'in front of', 'inside', 'outside' and 'next to'.
The simple shapes can also become almost anything in a child’s mind, from a racing car to a lump of cheese, meaning blocks are great for exercising young imaginations, too.
And last of all, the best thing about blocks is that they are enormous fun.
Tip: To extend children's play, pair blocks with figures, vehicles, and fabric. Or incorporate them into creative play by decorating them with chalk or junk modelling materials.