This in from ABC News: Megablocks has funded a study (this link from ABC news) that shows kids who play with blocks develop better language skills than kids who don’t – not too surprising, if you think about it.
The article says the study was small, but the brief description of the experiment does seem to indicate that it was designed correctly. The prescription? Give your kid blocks and turn off the TV. But of course, everyone knows TV turns kids into blockheads!
I would guess that there are many other kinds of play that have equally positive impacts on the development of language skills.
Now, since Megablocks funded this study, it should get some confirmation through independent studies-great projects for grad students, I suppose, who are learning the ropes of experimental design and investigating cognitive development of young children. Still, its interesting, and another reason not to park your kid in front of the TV.