What’s The One Toy Every Child Should Have?
When it comes to a child’s cognitive and physical development, they actually need far fewer toys and tools than you think! In this article, we’ll look at the one toy the National Association for the Education of Young Children believes every classroom should have.
If we told you that a simple set of blocks can enhance your child’s development more than almost any other toy on the market, would you be surprised?
Well, there’s a ton of research that highlights the amazing developmental benefits of block play and the National Association for the Education of Young Children believes that every classroom should have a set.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- The benefits of block play
- How parents can enhance children’s block play
- Chemicals to avoid in kids toys
- The best block sets for children
Scroll down to learn more:
Developmental Benefits of Block Play
Blocks have been shown to help children develop their:
- Gross and fine motor skills
- Hand-eye coordination
- Language and literacy skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Spatial reasoning
- Mathematical skills
- Cognitive flexibility (quickly shifting your focus from one concept to another)
- Scientific reasoning
- Social skills
- Self-esteem and self-expression
While young children will benefit from having an adult demonstrate how to use blocks and engage in building with them, toddlers and older children will reap more developmental rewards if they’re left to engage in free play with their blocks.
How Parents Can Help Enhance Children’s Block Play
Parents can enhance their children’s block play by:
- Asking open-ended questions such as, “What do you think would happen if you removed this block?”
- Inviting them to create stories around their constructions.
- Encouraging them to keep trying if their projects don’t turn out as they’d planned.
Depending on the block set, parents can also use blocks to help teach counting, color and shape recognition, and pattern making.
Chemicals to avoid in kids toys
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Test. This means we’ve looked deep into third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure it’s free of the chemicals we avoid.
When it comes to kids toys, and in particular blocks, we look for things that are:
- Free of BPA + BPS
- Free of Harmful Phthalates
- Free of PVC
- Free of heavy metals
- Made with water-based paints
- Either formaldehyde-free or ‘No Added Formaldehyde’
The Best Block Sets for Children
All Tot Tested and approved, here are our favorite block sets for children!
The Lily & Rivers Little Stackables block set is a fun way to learn shapes and colors all while honing hand-eye coordination and having fun. Made from premium, FSC-certified hardwood, they’re great for both independent and social play.
Made from FSC-certified Birch plywood, Babai’s Creative Balancer sets can be used in a variety of ways to encourage problem-solving, critical thinking and the development of fine motor skills. You can use them as blocks, a balancer, as mosaic tiles, or even a “guess what” game!
Ethically made in Russia of sustainably sourced solid lime wood, this 34 piece block set is finished with non-toxic water-based paints and is free from glue and lacquer. Fun for classic block play, it can also be used as a puzzle or scene for imaginative play with small dolls!
Another great block set from Raduga Grez is their Past Earth Cube Set. Designed with muted colors, it can be used to teach patterns, counting, matching and more.
The Raduga Grez Shapes Building Blocks Set offer kids even more ways to play! From creating obstacle courses to setting the scene for small world play, they’re a must-have for open-ended play time!
Made in the USA of untreated wood, Modern Blocks’ unique sets are hand painted with non-toxic, organic paint and finished with an organic wax polish. Featuring high contrast numbers, shapes and letters, they’re fantastic sets to help strengthen eyesight and encourage early literacy and numeracy skills.
Made from super smooth FSC certified wood, these soft and stackable river stones allow children to construct nature-inspired structures for hours on end! Tot Tip: Trying playing with them in sand!
Rock Blocks changed the game of block play when they came up with their abstract rock-shaped blocks! Available in different colors, these sets really challenge kids to think outside the box!
Designed with frames made from FSC-certified wood and transparent primary-colors acrylic windows, these unique blocks help develop hand-eye coordination, visual perception, and color recognition
Q Toys Rainbow Blocks do triple time as blocks, a puzzle and even as a stencil! Fun for creating both 2D and 3D designs, they’re made from solid, sustainably-sourced plantation timber and finished with non-toxic paint.
Guidecraft’s Wooden Hollow Block Sets take block play to the next level – literally! With sets available for both indoor and out, kids can imagine and build structures for imaginative play and more!
- As advocates of play-based learning, we’ve teamed up with expert early learning educators to create sets consisting of the toys and activities you need to help your tot reach developmental milestones, learn important life skills and build the confidence needed to enter a formal learning environment. Perfect for newborns up to Age 6, The Tot Play & Learn Sets are the screen-free educational tool you’ve been looking for.
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