We love playing with wooden blocks and you should too. They have a surprising benefit, but there are a few things you should know first.

It’s always great news when a toy or game your child loves can be used to help him (or her) learn. It’s no secret that the more children enjoy something, the more likely they are to stick with it. That’s why we are using this article to talk about the connection between wooden blocks and social skills.

Wooden blocks are a favorite toy among many children, so it may be exciting for some parents to hear that blocks can have an impact on a child’s social skills. You may be wondering how plain-old-fashioned-wooden-building-blocks can help your child’s social skills. It is actually pretty simple.

First and foremost, blocks bring children together. Perhaps the most obvious way blocks help is by giving children an opportunity to socialize. This may be a reason blocks are offered in so many elementary school classrooms. Everybody can participate, and oftentimes more people means bigger, better, and more elaborate building structures. Achieving big building goals requires teamwork and cooperation. In fact children will practice these skills without even realizing it.

Blocks encourage creativity. It may help for parents to get involved, and create fun building challenges for the child to meet. For example, you may encourage your child to build a specific type of structure, or use only a specific type/number of blocks. Getting absorbed in this kind of fun challenge may help a child to think less rigidly and more flexibly.

Blocks allow for pretend play. Imaginative children may use blocks to create a miniature world where their other toys can live. Some researchers believe that being absorbed into the imaginary world of blocks allows a child to hone social and emotional skills. By dreaming up a scenario, the child is able to imagine how the characters within the scenario will react to a given situation.

Like with most games, the impact of block play has a lot to do with how the child plays. If a child plays alone, then the social benefits are not there. Building your child’s block collection won’t solve all of his social struggles. However, when used the right way, blocks can be a fun way to practice social skills.


Isa Marrs is the Founder and Executive Director of the Where I Can Be Me® social skills program. She is a board-certified speech-language pathologist who specializes in pragmatic language (social skills) disorders in children. Read More