Construction play covers a vast range of activities for young children involving the manipulation of materials that children can put together to make three dimensional creations. Hannah knew her son Kieran loved construction activities, so when she used the Space directory to find a childcare centre in East Bunbury for him, that was one of her priorities.
Construction play helps children in many ways. Children instinctively use play to develop important educational and social skills, which is why most children are drawn to build, balance and design with blocks and bricks.
Figuring it out
Kieran spent a lot of time finding solutions when building with play construction materials. Which block to use, where to put it, how to balance it are all questions that children answer as they build. His childcare centre made sure he had plenty of objects to use in his quest to create the perfect edifice.
Developing skills and learning concepts
Manipulating plastic bricks and blocks into interesting shapes requires children to practise and develop their fine and gross motor skills. Construction play for young children involves a lot of floor movement to obtain the blocks and then finger and hand movement to put the pieces together, balance and place them. Children stand up, crouch, crawl and stretch as they build. They also use hand-eye coordination skills extensively as part of the construction play process, picking up blocks, putting plastic bricks together or pulling them apart and choosing the part they want from a pile.
Seeing patterns and designs
Independently or as part of a teacher directed activity, children can sort construction play pieces into shapes and colours, heights and lengths, make rows, squares or more. As children play, they can also learn about the names for the shapes they use and build.
Playing with blocks and bricks and building structures is also the basis for civil engineering structures. Children who enjoy designing and building when they are young form a sound knowledge base for how buildings, bridges and other infrastructure work. Hannah noticed how interested Kieran was in tall buildings and bridges and appreciated the opportunities he had at daycare to play with the toys he was interested in.
Construction play basics
Kieran’s childcare centre didn’t limit him to wooden blocks for building and constructing. As part of the programme, his early learning educators rotated and added a variety of materials that would challenge him and the other children as they used their mind and body to build and learn new skills. These included wooden blocks, planks of wood, twigs, boxes, tubes, plastic containers and educational toys such as Duplo and magnetic shapes.
Construction play is an integral part of early learning programmes and is central to the play-based learning philosophy of all East Bunbury childcare centres, including Kirean’s Goodstart East Bunbury Early Learning Centre. When children are given the opportunity to play freely with a range of construction toys, they are able to develop many skills for their growth and development.