Lots of parents swear by wooden blocks. The same parents keep their cell phones out of their kids hands, and shop with reusable cloth bags instead of plastic.
These parents wouldn’t be caught dead shopping for a Tickle-Me Elmo or any other fast-fashion commercial toy.
But why choose wooden blocks? If you’re trying to decide whether wooden blocks are right for your child, here’s a few compelling reasons that conscientious parents agree on.
Blocks inspire imagination infinity
A common reason parents choose wooden blocks is because they’re an extremely versatile toy. A single set can be played with in limitless ways.
No need to try and count. You’ll be at the hundreds or thousands before you figure out block play is limited only by your imagination.
To that extent, wooden blocks’ open-ended nature helps children open up their minds, and cultivates curiosity for what can become.
Most toys come with set rules, but by stacking different structures and arranging different patterns, children enjoy complete freedom to imagine and create.
Children learn their place in physical space
Playing with wooden blocks has functional benefits, too. The physical movement of stacking a block structure builds eye-hand coordination, spatial awareness, and analytic reasoning.
The larger the piece, the better it will be to use at a structure’s base. The more complex the structure becomes, the more carefully your child will need add a piece. The taller the structure becomes, the higher your child will need to stretch tall to place a piece at the top.
Your child will learn how her own body works in the space around them. Educational benefits like this are one main reason parents choose building blocks for their kids.
The’ve got natural appeal
Compared to other toys, you get less chemical substances and more environmentally friendly raw materials. You can even smell the natural wood fragrance.
The simple fact that wooden toys are made from wood is worthwhile. Choosing wood means your child’s hands (or even mouth) make contact with a much more natural toy.
We know toys sometimes end up in our children’s mouths. So knowing wood is safe and non-toxic nature helps put our minds at ease. Wood — it’s just something we trust.
Wood itself is perfectly imperfect
For every kind of tree, there’s a different kind of wood. Because of this diversity, there’s a wide selection of wooden blocks with unique wood patterns, textures and weights.
The same principle applies for every single block.
No two trees are exactly alike. No two pieces of wood are exactly alike. No two wooden blocks are exactly alike. Each block is completely unique in its own subtle way.
Especially when you think about the mass-production of plastic toys, where small variations are considered product flaws — well, it just gives wooden blocks a bit more character, now doesn’t it?
People aren’t perfect, and wooden blocks’ tiny imperfections help our children learn that’s alright.
You can jumpstart your child’s STEM learning
STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has only become more important part of children’s education. In turn, lots of parents feel pressure to start STEM learning early.
Wooden blocks’ various shapes, and sizes provide your child first exposure in numbers, geometry, and measurement.
When your child is putting pieces together and taking them apart, she’s actually learning the basics of addition and subtraction. When your child is matching similar-shaped pieces together, she’s actually practicing fundamental geometry.
Role-playing builds emotional intelligence
Building emotional intelligence is an important part of early childhood education. Role-play helps children explore different parts of their personality, and imitate behaviors they’ve learned from other people.
Wooden blocks are a great medium to explore role-play, especially when coupled with other stuffed animals and toys.
When children act as different characters or assume new identities, your child gains valuable experience communicating with others and expressing themselves.
Role-play can help parents understand how their child sees societal roles, too. When children imitate words and actions your they’ve picked up from adults, parents gain insight about what their child has learned about societal roles. This presents opportunity for you to foster a healthy precedent.
Beauty is in the eye of the block-holder
Most of the time, when your child sets out to build a figure, they want to build visually create what’s inside their imagination.
In turn, wooden blocks’ abstract and shapes and colors help your child develop a sense for aesthetics and beauty.
Life’s not all about hard skills. Following your feelings and going with the flow of creative expression is another worthwhile activity. Just like any art set, blocks let your child get creative and practice artistic expression.
Patience reaps reward
What could be more rewarding than admiring a building you just constructed with your own two hands? To a child who just finished their block creation — the answer is nothing, this is it!
Wooden blocks teach your child patience and persistence. Things worth doing are never easy. Sometimes you’ve got to take take it piece by piece.
That special feeling of achievement child has when the project’s complete, makes it all worthwhile.