All About Constructive Play

The Ripple Effect of Kindness: Nurturing Good Hearts in Children

What it is and how to encourage it

When it comes to different types of play, many parents have probably heard the term constructive play before, but if you’ve been wondering what exactly it is, and how to encourage it in your child – you’ve come to the right place! 

This is our explainer of constructive play, what it is, its benefits and how to encourage your children to engage in constructive play. 

What is constructive play? 

Constructive play, in its simplest form is when children use objects or materials to create or build something. Constructive play is sometimes called construction play, and it was formalised by Jean Piaget, a child development expert. 

The key idea of constructive play is that children make something intentionally and creatively with a number of different materials. These materials can be just about anything, some of the most common materials used in constructive play include: 

  • Block
  • Lego
  • Play dough 
  • Sand 
  • Wood 

What are the benefits of constructive play? 

Constructive play is a really powerful learning tool that also helps to develop your child’s motor skills. Constructive play can help your child with a range of different skills, these are some of the things your child might develop with the help of constructive play. 

  • Maths Skills

    Your child may explore counting, shapes, sizes and symmetry during their time using construction play. 

  • Creativity

    Construction play can help your child develop creativity as they can design their own play, choose their own materials and develop their imagination through building characters, stories and universes.

  • Physical Development

    Construction play can help your child to develop and fine tune their gross and fine motor skills.

  • Science Skills

    Construction play can help introduce your child to scientific theories including gravity and balance. It also helps to build their problem solving skills.

  • Social Skills

    Construction play allows for your child to build and play alongside other children, expanding their social skills and learning how to work together. 


How can I encourage constructive play? 

If you’re wanting to gently encourage your child to engage in constructive play, there are a few steps you can take to help encourage your child to participate in constructive play and see the benefits of it in action. 

These are some of the ways our team at Young Academics encourage children to partake in constructive play that you can use to encourage constructive play at home. 


Provide Resources 

To encourage constructive play, you must ensure that your child has all the right resources they will need. You want to keep your resources open-ended, try to opt for things that can be used in a number of ways rather than things that can only be built in one specific way. 

Some of the best resources you should try to have on hand to encourage constructive play include: 

  • Wood of different sizes and shapes
  • Lego 
  • Sand and tools
  • Building blocks 
  • Cardboard, paper, craft supplies 
  • Recyclable materials 


Lead By Example

Modelling play can be a great way to encourage your child to begin exploring constructive play. Get down and play with your child, encourage them to explore the materials on offer and make sure you’re encouraging your child to get involved. If your child sees you engaged, they are more likely to want to be engaged in the activity too. 


Take Constructive Play Everywhere

Construction play shouldn’t just be for when your child is inside playing, you want to encourage your child to engage in construction play in a range of different environments. If your child is used to only participating in constructive play inside, encourage them to take it outside so they can play around a new set of challenges and environments. 


Mix It Up

As your child grows and develops new skills, it’s important to add new materials to your constructive okay area to keep them engaged. Bring in different supplies and if your child is old enough you can get them involved in finding and choosing new materials too! Try asking your child what they may like to add, or taking them to a craft store or secondhand store to find things they gravitate towards that they can use whilst building their worlds. 

When it comes to constructive play, the options are endless and encouraging your child to partake in constructive play in a supportive environment that allows them to grow and develop their skills is vital!