Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Block-play may improve language development in toddlers

Date:
October 14, 2007
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Playing with toy blocks may lead to improved language development in middle- and low-income children, according to a new study.

Playing with toy blocks may lead to improved language development in middle- and low-income children, according to a report in the October issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Related Articles


"Early childhood represents a critical period in the development of young minds," according to background information in the article. "The newborn brain triples in size between birth and 2 years of age. The long-standing presumption has been that certain activities during this period promote optimal development and that others may hinder it." The development of memory and the roots of impulse control and language can be acquired through imaginative play. Many toys today claim to improve children's cognitive development. However, most such claims are unsubstantiated.

Dimitri A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H, of the University of Washington, Seattle and the Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, and colleagues conducted a pilot study involving 175 children age 1.5 to 2.5 years. One group of 88 children was mailed two sets of building blocks and two newsletters with suggestions for parents about activities that families could do with the blocks (for example, sorting them by color). The other group of 87 children did not receive any blocks until after the conclusion of the study. Parents, who were told only that they were participating in a study of child time use, completed a questionnaire about basic demographic information at the beginning of the study and provided time diaries that tracked the activities of their child during two 24-hour periods during the trial. Parents completed another questionnaire by telephone six months after enrollment that included assessments of their children's language and attention.

Ninety-two families (53 percent) returned at least one diary entry and exit interviews were completed by 140 families (80 percent). Of those who received the two sets of blocks during the study, 52 (59 percent) had block-play reported in their diaries compared with only 11 (13 percent) of those in the other group.

"In this pilot study, we found that distributing blocks was associated with significantly higher language scores in a sample of middle- and low-income children," the authors write. On average, children who received blocks score 15 percent higher on their language assessment than those who did not. The results suggest that a program that distributes blocks may be effective in promoting development. There was no difference found in attention scores between the two study groups.

The researchers speculate that the distribution of toy blocks resulted in more block-play (based on diary entries) and that this block playtime may be replacing other forms of time use that do not encourage language development. Television time may have also been replaced by block-play.

"Further study (including laboratory assessments) to corroborate these findings and to explore whether attentional capacity could be significantly improved given a larger sample is warranted."

This study was funded by Mega Bloks, which provided research support and the blocks themselves.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. A. Christakis, F. J. Zimmerman, M. M. Garrison. Effect of Block Play on Language Acquisition and Attention in Toddlers: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2007; 161 (10): 967 DOI: 10.1001/archpedi.161.10.967

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Block-play may improve language development in toddlers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071001172822.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2007, October 14). Block-play may improve language development in toddlers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071001172822.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Block-play may improve language development in toddlers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071001172822.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) Ruby Holt spent most of her 100 years on a farm in rural Tennessee, picking cotton and raising four children. She saw the ocean for the first time thanks to her assisted living center and a group that grants wishes to the elderly. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Kids React to Lammily, The Realistic Barbie Alternative

Buzz60 (Nov. 19, 2014) Artist Nickolay Lamm's Kickstarter-funded Lammily doll, based on his 'What Would Barbie Look Like as a Real Woman' project, is finally available to buy. Jen Markham explains how the doll's realistic proportions are going over with a test group of second-graders who are used to the impossible measurements of Barbie dolls. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins