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Dr. Toys Tips on Construction Toys

San Francisco, CA – Building with blocks and construction toys helps children to sharpen their minds, strengthen hands and improve coordination while having a lot of fun. Constructive play has many benefits to enhance dexterity, spatial thinking and creativity according Stevanne Auerbach, Ph.D., the child play expert known as Dr Toy.

Playing with blocks is a natural pastime for little ones reaching out to explore the world. She says that continuing to engage in building play helps your child gain many other important skills.

“Your young architect is gaining small muscle dexterity, learning to find a placement for objects, balance and practicing eye-hand coordination,” says Auerbach, the author of 15 books including “Dr. Toy’s Smart Play/Smart Toys: How to Raise a Child with a High P.Q. (Play Quotient)”.  “Construction play helps introduce your child to art and design, architecture and history, mathematics and science. Logical reasoning, cause and effect, and engineering are all part of the constructive play experience.”

Dr Toy offers these tips to help spark your child’s creativity with block and construction play:

  • Take the time to get down on the floor and play with your child when he or she is building with a construction toy. You can make something separately or work on the same project. The important part is your child will see you building too and your actions reinforce this form of play.
  • Help your child enjoy building even more by finding some easy storage bins to put small parts into, to safely store and to gain easy access.
  • Give your child plenty of time to build.  Having time to build without frustration is important to allow child to discover strengths. 
  • Provide your child with a variety of construction toys-soft, foam, cardboard, plastic and wood.
  • Playing with blocks and construction toys is another great opportunity for families to reconnect across all ages. They help everyone have fun, be creative, learn building strategy and gain many other skills.

As your child grows there are many opportunities for more sophisticated construction projects that offer more complicated and challenging building. See “Dr. Toy’s Guide” at  drtoy.com for a selection of  award winning construction products such as KAPLA,  to build as tall and as complicated structures as your child can imagine (www.kaplatoys.com);  Gears! Gears! Gears! Illuma-Bot, a 105-piece set to build a mechanical robot (www.learningresources.com); and the Magnetix MagnaCase (www.megabrandsinc.com).

More Construction Play Tips from Stevanne Auerbach, PhD/Dr. Toy

Benefits of Using Blocks and Construction Toys:

Many different educational and creative play skills evolve from building experiences:

  • They are learning and creating their own ideas for buildings, structures, and designing imaginary things.
  • Construction toys build strength in a child’s fingers and hands, and improve their eye-hand coordination.
  • Construction and block play encourages social relationships among children and is a valuable cooperative play opportunity for groups of children.  
  • Constructive play helps children to expand their language abilities and as they are able articulate about size, shape, colors, comparisons and other aspects of building.
  • Children learn and practice math skills through block and construction play by grouping, adding, subtracting, and sequencing.
  • Science and physics are experienced when the child experiments with gravity and balance.  

 Questions to ask when selecting construction toys:

  • Is this the right construction set for child’s age and ability and will it provide fun and self expression?  If there is sufficient fun and excitement your child will enjoy using the product.  If it is challenging, but not frustrating it is the right product. 
  • Does the construction toy have aspects  right for your child? If the product allows for “open- ended” play and supports your child’s self expression your child can make the construction product turn out to match their own fantasy.
  • Does the toy stimulate conversation and expression?  Good construction toys offer fun, provide surprise, novelty each time a creation is made and ample chances for everyone to excel.
  • Does the construction toy support skill building?  Block and constructive play helps all ages keep mentally alert and provides practice for children to develop many important skills including  math, science, physics, patterning, sequencing, visual discrimination and strategy and eye-hand coordination. As they mature with more complicated products they can learn about structures, levers, mechanisms and pulleys.

Dr. Stevanne Auerbach is the director of the Institute for Childhood Resources and an internationally recognized author, speaker and authority on play and children's toys. Her annual awards programs recognize the best toys and children's products for learning and fun. The15th Annual "Dr. Toy's 100 Best Children's Products" Awards for 2006 now are available online at drtoy.com.

Media Contact: Angie Niehoff 561-868-0297 or

Dr. Toy's Tips on Construction in pdf

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