The Importance of Constructive Play

One of my favorite activities as a young child growing up on a farm in the beautiful border country between England and Wales was to go outside after the frequent heavy rains we often experienced (or even while it was raining) to dig and build little ditches, channels, aqueducts, tunnels, diversions, and dams for all the runoff. I also loved creating fantastic marble shoots with my peers at school using several sets of unit blocks. I remember some of these block creations were so high that they touched the classroom ceiling! Both these activities involved constructive play. In this article I argue that, while constructive play is often viewed as secondary to both physical and symbolic/fantasy play, it is critically important for young children, and should be encouraged and supported both in the classroom and on the playground.

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