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According to studies, childhood play — especially associated with construction and building toys — can have a large impact on shaping a kid’s spatial skills. This plays an influential role in future fields like science and engineering. Pair those findings with the tons of fun that comes with this activity, and investing in a high-quality set becomes a no-brainer for any parent. If that’s not enough to convince you, keep in mind that it’ll also cut down your kid’s screen time saving them from the potential dangers of too much screen time.
Of course, not all building block sets share the same type of user experience, learning opportunities, and overall benefits. As a parent, you should do your research to ensure the set you purchase is age-appropriate, safe to use, well-designed, durable, and most importantly, fun to play with. Let’s go over all these key factors in a bit more detail.
In kids’ construction toy sets, material quality and safety go hand in hand. That’s because some plastic-built options could potentially contain harmful chemicals like phthalates, BPA, lead, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and more.
In general, exposing kids to plastic blocks with one or more of these components can pose health and safety risks. Unless you can verify that the plastic set you’re purchasing is free from all of the above, you’re better off purchasing safer toys that are made out of eco-friendly materials like wood or stainless steel like the Veatree Building Toy listed above.
Your building toys also need to be age-appropriate. For instance, a 5-year-old playing with blocks meant for 8-year-olds may find things too challenging, and subsequently, feel demotivated to continue playing.
On the other hand, blocks made for 5-year-olds might seem too easy to older children which means it wouldn’t be fun after just a day or two. This could also lead to problems.
Instead, choose blocks that are designed for the precise age range of your child. As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the block, the older the age range that it’s meant for.
Between one to two years of age, the goal with building blocks should be to help develop basic motor skills and dexterity in children that allow them to stack and sort blocks.
Toddlers and babies, on the other hand, should play with large yet lightweight blocks to sharpen their sensory skills, exploring activities like carrying, stacking, creating, and balancing.
School-aged kids are old enough to play with blocks with design details, opening doors for imagination and creativity.
You’d be surprised how long children can play with building blocks without getting bored. We’re talking months and even years! That’s why it’s important to invest in sets that are built to last.
Age even comes into play with durability. For toddlers, you need the most resilient blocks out there because they’re more likely to be rougher with their toys. School-aged kids are (usually) more civilized in their play which is why their blocks can get away with being just a little more fragile.
If there’s one thing that all kids are universally good at, it’s the ability to make a mess. That’s why the blocks you purchase should be easy to clean. You’d be doing yourself a favor if you purchase sets that are dishwasher-safe or ones that can be cleaned with nothing but a wet wipe.
Lastly, don’t forget that these toys should be fun. Think about it, all those sensory, spatial, and motor skills won’t even start to develop if your child doesn’t even play with the set in the first place, right?