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Types of Play: Constructing

Types of Play: Building and Constructing with Kids

Construction play involves manipulating one or multiple elements of the play environment to construct something new. This may involve all sorts of construction methods – stacking, assembling, disassembling, sorting or moulding, to name a few.

Construction play develops all types of skills and behaviours;

  • The physical skills necessary to manipulate and control the chosen toy or material
  • Problem solving skills
  • The ability to plan the use of materials to see a design idea become a reality
  • The ability to test ideas
  • Perseverance in the face of construction challenges
  • When working with others, team work behaviours necessary to successfully and collaboratively complete a task together

Most commonly when we think of construction play, we think of building blocks or other commercial construction sets but construction play also includes;

  • Putting together a train track
  • Building cubby houses
  • Box construction with recycled materials
  • A pull apart activity table
  • Building sand castles
  • Making with playdough
  • Woodworking
  • Sewing
  • Knitting

Here are some simple ways to extend your child’s construction play experiences;

  • Add a range of open ended materials to your child’s block play (or other construction sets) – pieces of vinyl, pieces of fabric, balls of wool, small tiles, shells, bottle tops, lengths of ribbon, planks of wood, stones.
  • Add creative materials when constructing with boxes and other recycled materials – popsticks, buttons, googly eyes, string, sequins, felt tipped pens, tape, stapler, cotton wool, paint.
  • Adding open ended materials to playdough play – matchsticks, popsticks, patty pans, lengths of curling ribbon, googly eyes, buttons, sequins.
  • Teach preschoolers and primary school aged children to finger knit.
  • Buy a bag of wood off cuts and some strong glue as an introduction to woodworking. Over time, add a small handsaw, nails and child sized hammer.
  • Build cubbies from sheets, chairs, milk crates, large boxes, paint, hay bales, tyres, lengths of bamboo or dowel.
  • Set preschool aged children ‘tasks’ which require them to work together to develop co-operative and language skills.

What constructive play experiences do your children enjoy? Is there a new way of playing constructively which you would like to try?

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Comments

  1. SquiggleMum says:

    We have a lovely but simple Plan set of blocks which the kids enjoy building with. It's been fascinating to watch my daughter's progress and development with construction as she has grown through the toddler years. I think it's important for girls to have blocks as well as boys.

  2. This is the most natural type of play for my preschool son. He can spend a long time constructing things. I have to work harder to get him involved in imaginative play and he is not yet independent (or not often) with imaginative play.

  3. katepickle says:

    Love construction play…. you can do so much more than simply build! We like to mix things up a little.. get out the duplo and the wooden blocks together and go a bit wild! LOL
    Fab post!

  4. Raising a Happy Child says:

    Great ideas on mixing materials in construction play. I really need to get better in it. Daughter loves building with Lego and with blocks, and one of her favorite toys is a big cardboard box :)

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