May is Children’s Mental Health Month, and, as parents and creators of children’s products, we can’t advocate enough for playtime as a major contributor to the good mental health and overall well-being of children everywhere.
As unstructured playtime diminishes in the name of extra-curricular activities and busier schedules, children are losing out. Recent research, summarized in an interesting article about simplicity parenting, points to this reduced play time, as well as the sheer number of toys and distractions today’s child experiences, as a contributor to mental health issues. According to the article, protecting downtime, providing enough unstructured playtime for kids to completely immerse themselves in a single project or storyline, and limiting kids’ toys to those with true value and longevity has long-lasting benefits.
Some of the mental health benefits of block and building play include:
Imagination and Creativity – A well-developed imagination, or the ability to experience things that aren’t actually happening, is critical in the development of kids’ empathy and coping skills as well as their ability to resolve conflicts. Imagination can reduce anxiety and delusions, by enabling kids to “see” happy endings to their situations. Open-ended engineering toys for girls and boys, like Brackitz, enable kids to explore their creativity and indulge their imaginations and fantasies by actually, physically, creating what they see in their minds.
Problem Solving - The ability to recognize a problem, brainstorm possible solutions, and attempt to solve the problem using one of those solutions is an immeasurably valuable tool in a child’s mental health toolbox. Providing practice solving any type of problem, from building a bridge to a math equation, boosts a child’s confidence in their ability to solve more meaningful problems as they grow.
Self-Expression – “Research shows that self-expression is one of the best ways for you to relieve yourself of stress and anxiety in your day to day living.” . Among countless other benefits, the ability to express one’s thoughts and feelings provides an outlet for tension and stress. Blocks and construction toys like Brackitz are often included in Play Therapy sessions, as they allow children to express themselves without having to identify or articulate their thoughts and feelings.
Self-Esteem – Low self-esteem and the assumption that one will always fail can contribute to mental health issues over time. With no “right” answer, block play reduces the risk of failure and increases opportunities for success, resulting in increased self-esteem and confidence, critical components of good mental health.
Brackitz engineering toys are the only construction toys that lets kids design any structure they can imagine - anything.Our unique, connect-anywhere brackitz enables kids to create large scale, portable, 3-D structures – with no instructions or limitations – all while learning real-life math, science, engineering, and architecture skills.
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and think your friends, parents, co-workers, caregivers, teachers, dog-walkers, or baristas might, too, please don’t forget to share it.