Source: Psychological Science, Jan 2015
Data from a nationally representative study show that children who play frequently with puzzles, blocks, and board games tend to have better spatial reasoning ability.
Being able to reason about space, and how to manipulate objects in space, is a critical part of everyday life, helping us to navigate a busy street, put together a piece of “some assembly required” furniture, even load the dishwasher. And these skills are especially important for success in particular academic and professional domains, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Children who played with puzzles, blocks, and board games often (more than six times per week) had higher block design scores than did children who played with them sometimes (three to five times per week), or rarely/never.
In line with previous findings, parents reported that boys engaged in spatial play — playing with puzzles, blocks, and board games — more often than girls, even after spatial ability was taken into account.