Construction Toys

  • About
  • More Info
  • Resources

Kids just love to build things – whether it’s stacking blocks to make the highest tower or creating a ‘car’ from building bricks. The fun starts young, with stacking towers that encourage babies to develop hand-eye co-ordination and concentration.

With an appeal that starts at the baby age and continues right up to adults, it’s no surprise that construction toys are an evergreen category for the retailer. With the global construction toy industry alone set to by grow by US$3.5 Billion by 2025*, it’s a category you can rely on.

Toy blocks alone offer a host of developmental opportunities, from motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and spatial reasoning, to language and engineering skills, cognitive flexibility and creative thinking and problem solving. All that from a few simple blocks - no wonder construction toys are so popular!

The Benefits of Constructive Play in Early Years

Teaches co-operation

Constructive play imbues kids with the importance of cooperating with other members in their team. For instance, a simple act like passing each other buckets bring the kids together and helps them feel like one community working towards the same goals. It also paves the way to build their social skills, a trait that would be valuable to them as adults.

Strengthens problem-solving skills

When kids engage in constructive play, they quickly learn about methods that can either give them results or that don’t work. They also learn to become flexible with their approach while solving a problem. Also, the problem-solving skills gained during constructive play can be applied to other areas of their lives that do not involve play.

Helps with creative thinking

One of the most significant advantages of constructive play is the platform it creates for children to be creative in their interactions. By figuring out different uses for a material, a child disengages from thinking in one direction and hones their lateral thinking abilities.

Enhances motor skills

Constructive play requires children to move every part of their body as they build. The crawling, stretching, grabbing, and walking they do help them to exercise their developing muscles actively. It also fine-tunes their motor skills leading to healthy body development.

Builds self-esteem

During constructive play, kids are totally in the driver’s seat. They have the freedom to come up with a goal, choose the materials required to achieve the goal and figure out the best way to implement it. This sense of total control over the environment gives children a positive feeling about themselves and helps to build their self-esteem.

Why toy blocks rock: The benefits of construction play

  • motor skills and hand-eye coordination
  • spatial reasoning
  • cognitive flexibility
  • language skills
  • a capacity for creative, divergent thinking
  • social competence
  • engineering skills

What Exactly is Constructive Play?

Constructive play is simply what happens when kids use toys or other non-toy materials to build or create something new. Typically, it includes activities associated with construction such as dissembling, moulding, assembling, sorting or stacking. It offers a hands-on learning avenue for children, making it easier for them to recall any information gathered during the course of learning.

The term, constructive play, was coined by Jean Piaget, an early childhood advocate who was interested in discovering the learning habits of kids. Jean claims that before children get to the constructive play stage, they have to pass through a prior stage known as functional play. In other words, before children begin to construct, they would have extensively explored their play materials to have an idea of how to effectively use them.

The Benefits of Constructive Play in Early Years

Teaches co-operation 

Constructive play imbues kids with the importance of cooperating with other members in their team. For instance, a simple act like passing each other buckets bring the kids together and helps them feel like one community working towards the same goals. It also paves the way to build their social skills, a trait that would be valuable to them as adults.

Strengthens problem-solving skills

When kids engage in constructive play, they quickly learn about methods that can either give them results or that don’t work. They also learn to become flexible with their approach while solving a problem. Also, the problem-solving skills gained during constructive play can be applied to other areas of their lives that do not involve play.

Helps with creative thinking

One of the most significant advantages of constructive play is the platform it creates for children to be creative in their interactions. By figuring out different uses for a material, a child disengages from thinking in one direction and hones their lateral thinking abilities.

Enhances motor skills

Constructive play requires children to move every part of their body as they build. The crawling, stretching, grabbing, and walking they do help them to exercise their developing muscles actively. It also fine-tunes their motor skills leading to healthy body development.

Builds self-esteem

During constructive play, kids are totally in the driver’s seat. They have the freedom to come up with a goal, choose the materials required to achieve the goal and figure out the best way to implement it. This sense of total control over the environment gives children a positive feeling about themselves and helps to build their self-esteem.

Construction Toys

Why do construction toys sell so well?

In the week before the UK’s 2020 lockdown, the NPD Group reported that sales of building sets had risen a whopping 59 per cent compared with the same period in 2019. With nurseries and schools closed, parents were looking for things that would occupy their children and offer them educational input that they weren’t getting from their usual childcare setting.

It’s well known that construction play has a number of educational benefits – it’s why the category is so popular in nurseries, preschools and schools. Construction play is not just about building blocks – it describes any time children use materials or toys to make something new. They might stack, sort, mould or assemble. This hands-on learning makes it easier for developing brains to remember what they are learning.

The return to traditional toys such as building blocks, has begun as adults look for more ‘wholesome’ ways to play away from screens. It’s a trend driven by older parents and grandparents, with over-65s buying the most construction toys. Mattel is making the most of the trend – its Mega range, which includes the Mega Bloks Big Building Bag and Build n Learn Tables stocked by Baby Brands Direct  is the number two manufacturer in building sets in 2020, and Mega is the top growing manufacturer in junior building.’

How do babies and children learn from construction toys?

For babies, stacking sets, such as the Fisher-Price Construction Giant Rocker Stack, encourage focus, critical thinking, and help them to learn cause and effect along with fine motor skills. The Janod Sweet Cocoon Stacking Stones introduce the concepts of balance and construction, in delicate colours that complement modern décor, while Infantino’s Sensory Plug & Play Textured Multi Blocks Set with its multitude of different textures adds sensory feedback for baby. Open-ended activities allow room for babies to develop to their full potential – and construction toys such as Mega Bloks do just that. Babies reach for a brick, explore its size and shape with their fingers, and start to form critical-thinking skills.

Children start to ask ‘what will happen if…’ If they join blocks together, pull them apart, stack them on top of each other, what happens if they knock them over. Judging by the squeals of delight when they do this last one, this is a good thing! Then they can learn to count, identify colours, and learn about size differences. Building something that they can look at, show to parents and admire builds self-confidence and encourages independent learning. As children grow in confidence, adults should step back from construction toy play and allow babies and children to learn on their own, to grow self-esteem, confidence and social skills.

*Research and markets: Construction Toys - Market Analysis, Trends, and Forecasts, Feb 2020