Wooden blocks and toys can change the way children think, as building projects can stimulate creativity and sharpen their skills. One of the important skills in children that can be sharpened by wooden blocks is their spatial skill.
Spatial intelligence is important for many tasks, but is often neglected at schools. However, many experiments prove that the spatial thinking skills of a child can be improved with the help of wooden blocks. Spatial intelligence is what we use when we visualize shapes and structures in our mind. It is this ability that allows a scientist to contemplate the 3D structure of a molecule.
Many studies have proven the connection between construction play and spatial thinking in children. A recent study that observed the construction activity of fifty-one children found that those kids who were interested in construction and made sophisticated structures performed well on the tests for spatial intelligence.
Encouraging children to build blocks and structures can help them understand spatial relationships and to test it in real-time. This will help them mentally arrange or rotate the objects, helping them develop their spatial abilities. To analyze that, researchers made a group of kindergartners engage in construction play and they subsequently outperformed others on spatial visualization, block building, and mental rotation.
Researchers also tested the effects of a kind of building block play, called structured block play, which involves reproducing a structure from a blueprint or model, and it proved to boost spatial thinking in children greatly. In addition to that, brain scans were also done, which revealed changes in the way the brains of children processed spatial data when they were offered structured block play tools like wooden blocks and Legos.
Even a brief training period (ranging from a few hours to weeks) with structured block play tools can help children sharpen their spatial skills. When toddlers are exposed to wooden blocks for the first time, they will learn how to feel, how to hold on to the blocks, and how heavy the blocks are. If these blocks are brightly colored, kids will also be able to explore, understand, and distinguish colors in a better way.
Children can even have fun with the sounds that these blocks make when they fall or bang together. Soon, they will learn about the sizes of these blocks, to compare them and find exact matching blocks, meaning that wooden blocks can help in the overall brain development of children.