How Children Learn Through Play

When toddlers and preschoolers are sitting on the floor building castles and towers, it’s clear that they’re honing their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. However, their brains are just as busy as their hands; through freewheeling and imaginative play, kids enter a very active learning zone that encourages their curiosity and builds their independence. Here are some amazing learnings that children may gain from LEGO® DUPLO® play – and how to help them get the most out of this precious and fun time.

Cause and effect

Even when they’re building towers and immediately knocking them down with squeals of delight, children are learning about cause and effect. Through trial and error, kids begin to understand how much pressure is required to snap bricks together or pull them apart, and how high they can build before gravity takes over. Posing questions such as “Do you think this stack will stay balanced?” or “What will happen if you put the house on the bumpy spot in the carpet?” can get your little scientist experimenting.

How to be a buddy

What’s more fun than building with DUPLO bricks? Building with friends, of course. And even though preschoolers’ play is more side-by-side than cooperative, such get-togethers can be a steppingstone toward true friendship. To help, spread out enough bricks for everyone (making sure each child gets a more or less equal amount of various shapes and colors). Encourage them to take turns and build with a common goal: “You add a blue brick and then Nathan can add his green brick!” Even if big concepts such as sharing and cooperation don’t happen overnight, this kind of group play lays the groundwork for the give and take of friendship.

How to handle challenges

It happens during most playtimes: Something doesn’t work out the way your child planned. What happens when you don’t have enough yellow bricks to build the giraffe? Or the bridge you just finished cracks in half? Well you may have to start all over again – and that’s okay! Because LEGO DUPLO bricks are so easy to take apart and put back together, they’re ideally suited for encouraging children to challenge themselves and indulge their natural curiosity. Preschoolers learn that perseverance pays off, and you can learn from every outcome, whether you expected it or not. That’s a lesson that will serve them well in school and beyond.

The joy of creativity

During play, children naturally turn to their fertile imaginations. They love to act out stories with toys – whether that’s mimicking grown-up behavior (think playing house or school) or moving into fantastical worlds of fairies and pirates. Because there’s no ‘right’ way to play with DUPLO, preschoolers are free to use their wild and wacky imaginations. They can conjure up the wildest, scariest adventures and still feel safe.

There are dozens of other incredible ways kids learn while playing, so keep your eyes and ears open when there’s a building project going on in your living room. Your child might even teach you something.

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Playgroup NSW leads play-based programs and services for NSW families with children birth to school age, offering development, shared experiences, and family support, that results in active citizens and inclusive communities.