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My two boys (almost 2 and almost 3 years old) love their blocks and recently graduated from Mega Blocks to Duplo. Building blocks provide possibly one of the most valuable learning experiences for toddlers. Block play stimulates learning and development in a variety of areas: intellectual, physical, and social-emotional and language. Block play is fundamental for later cognitive success.
There is a natural progression of block play and introducing infants and toddlers to block play is invaluable. We introduced the Mega Blocks initially which our two boys have been playing with for close to two years now and over Christmas, last year got our first Duplo.
Until about a month ago our almost two-year-old would spend the time destroying his older brothers creations, but just recently he too has been enjoying the building aspect of blocks. It has been well worth watching the progression from destructor to builder.
When toddlers are first introduced to blocks they may learn by touch & sound. They experiment with how they sound when they fall, or when they bang them together. Soon toddlers are learning cause and effect as they are filling and dumping, stacking, knocking down and laying blocks side by side on the floor.
Soon toddlers are learning cause and effect as they are dumping, stacking, and knocking over or pulling apart. Concepts such as learning sizes, comparing objects by making exact matches and the order of objects are also being observed and developed. Socially, this contributes to self-confidence, being proud of their achievements and success by feeling a sense of accomplishment.
Three-year-olds block play is different as they grow and develop and move and focus on a more constructive type of play. Three-year-old are beginning to engage in pretend play. They are starting to build things that resemble more color sequences or patterns. They are learning concepts such as sorting size and shape, ordering, and counting.
And of course helping to pack the blocks away at the end of play is the icing on that cake as far as learning and development go.