Lego, Magna-tiles, and kinetic sand. For us parents, these are just toys that we buy for our kids. But for our kids, these toys are so much more. They’re tools for them to bring their creative imagination to life. They built castles with Magna-tiles and kinetic sand. They built towers and robots made from Lego blocks. This activity is called constructive play. It’s a type of play in which children build structures and whatnot.
Children are naturally curious about the world around them. And that curiosity, plus creativity, fuels their desire to build something. This is why such toys are created. The good thing about encouraging constructive play is that we can do it with them. We can put their construction skills to the test by working on home construction projects with them. We can start with outdoor living. After acquiring paving solutions for our backyard, the next thing we can do is improve it with our kids. Plus, it would be a great way for us to bond with our kids.
The Knowledge and Skills Gained from Constructive Play
Before we could put our kids’ construction skills to the test, we should know the benefits gained from constructive play. First is their capacity for problem-solving. Building towers made from Lego and wooden blocks require much thought. Even if they don’t know the specific concepts and computations yet, they’re already cultivating engineering skills. Through trial-and-error, they will know what works and what does not when it comes to constructing something. They’ll be encouraged to think of out-of-the-box ways to bring to life the castles and other structures in their minds.
With that, their creativity is also cultivated. Constructive play encourages kids to play around with shapes, colors, and other elements. And because constructing something doesn’t come easily, kids also develop patience and focus. They become invested in what they’re building. Thus, they’re able to start and finish their projects. This is a crucial life skill that many people forget to cultivate. So it’s good that, through constructive play, kids get to hone that skill already.
Lastly, kids also gain the skills for collaboration. This is, arguably, the most important skill they could hone. Working with others towards a shared goal in constructive play prepares them for a career of working well with others. Plus, this will be especially beneficial when we start working on home projects with them.
Cultivate Early Engineering Skills
When we improve our outdoor space with our kids, of course, we think about the space that they could use for play. After all, playing outside, with fresh air and sunlight, is essential for them. There are many options. For one, we could build a treehouse with them. This is where their early engineering skills will come into play.
Because they’ve spent a lot of time building structures with their toys (especially Magna-tiles), they have an idea of how to keep a treehouse upright. They know the importance of using the right materials and tools. They’ll know the importance of building supports such as wooden beams and braces to ensure that the treehouse is balanced and stable.
Another good way to apply their engineering skills is by assembling an outdoor playground set with them. We know this is far from easy, though. How many times have we, as adults, struggled with assembling furniture that we bought from Ikea? But, no matter, because our kids have spent some time with constructive play. So they can definitely help us assemble a playground set in our backyard.
Ask for their Creative Input
As previously talked about, constructive play is fueled by curiosity and creativity. And no one can deny that there’s something fresh and delightful about our kids’ imagination. So why not put that to the test by asking for their creative input when improving our outdoor space?
We can ask for their opinions on color schemes. What color should the patio furniture have? What print would be perfect for the cushions and pillowcases? We could even ask for their input on the organization of the whole outdoor space. Together, we can decide where to place the play area, lounge area, and dining area. Apart from that, we can also embark on art activities with them. We could even create a mural on the exterior of our house with them.
With constructive play, there’s no doubt about our kids being able to help us with the design and construction at home. They could be more proactive with us and express their creative energy that was cultivated from constructive play. Who knew that our expenses on Legos and other toys would have such a huge payoff?