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What Is Constructive Play?

Updated April 17, 2017

For children, playtime can be as much of a learning experience as classroom work. Children at play learn to interact with one another, use their imaginations and follow game rules. One valuable type of play is known as constructive play.

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Definition

In constructive play, children build larger objects out of smaller ones or otherwise manipulate their environment. Constructive play can involve a variety of activities, including stacking, rearranging, assembling, disassembling, drawing and moulding.

Examples

Kids building sandcastles on a beach or snowmen in their back yard are engaged in constructive play, as are children making towers out of wooden or plastic building blocks and those gathered around a train table, rearranging the tracks.

Improving Skills

According to Francis Wardle, PhD, writing for EarlyChildhoodNews.com, the benefits of constructive play are numerous. For instance, manipulating objects helps kids develop skills in various activities, such as stacking or drawing.

Building Confidence

Wardle also notes that completing constructive-play projects gives children a sense of satisfaction, improves their confidence and gives them some control over their environment.

Other Types of Play

Constructive play is one important type of play. Other types include social play, fantasy play, motor play and game play. As children grow and their interaction with the world becomes more complex, play continues to support their growth and development.

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About the Author

Elisabeth Dahl is a freelance writer and copyeditor who has worked in publishing since 1991. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree from Georgetown University, where she was a Writing Center Associate Fellow.

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