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Construction toys seem ideally suited to do that, and they may also help children develop 

  • motor skills and hand-eye coordination,
  • spatial skills,
  • a capacity for creative, divergent thinking, 
  • social skills, and 
  • language skills.

It Builds Creativity

We know a lot of a child’s interaction with blocks comes from putting them together according to the instructions.  This is a great way to for a child to start gathering ideas and building techniques that can later be used when a build is created in their imagination.  There is nothing wrong with building a specific build according to the instructions.  Later on, as the child gathers more pieces and more ideas, they are ready to start embarking on the task of creating builds they thought up themselves.

Also, getting them involved in building challenges or trying to capture their interest in another area is a great way to pique their interest in building.  For example, a Harry Potter fan who has a collectible wand set can build display racks for those wands out of LEGOs.

Toy blocks and math skills

Block play has been linked with math skills, too. In one study, the complexity of a child';s LEGO play at the age of 4 had long-term predictive power: More complex play during the preschool years was correlated with higher mathematics achievement in high school, even after controlling for a child';s IQ (Wolfgang et al 2001; 2003).
Other research has revealed links between a preschooler';s ability to recreate specific structures and his or her current mathematical skills (Verdine et al 2013), and similar correlations among tweens and adolescents (Oostermejier et al 2014; Richardson et al 2014). A study in the Netherlands found that 6th grade students who spent more free time in construction play performed better on a test of mathematics word problems (Oostermejier et al 2014).