Toy blocks links creative, divergent problem-solving
Psychologists recognize two major types of problem. Convergent problems have only one correct solution. Divergent problems can be solved in multiple ways.
Because kids can put together blocks in a variety of ways, block play is divergent play. And divergent play with blocks may prepare kids to think creatively and better solve divergent problems.
In one experiment, researchers presented preschoolers with two types of play materials (Pepler and Ross 1981).
Some kids got materials for convergent play (puzzle pieces).
Other kids were given materials for divergent play (chunky, block-like foam shapes).
Kids were given time to play and then were tested on their ability to solve problems.
The results? The kids who played with blocks performed better on divergent problems. They also showed more creativity in their attempts to solve the problems (Pepler and Ross 1981).