Best of the Web: Why we should all be building with blocks, and more

The benefits for everyone of building blocks, experts on why we should screen all kids for anxiety, and dads paying it forward.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

My kids love building blocks. Here’s why experts say playing with them is crucial

(Sophie Brickman, The Guardian)

This article begins with a surprising revelation from the legendary footballer David Beckham. At the end of a long day, he unwinds by playing with Lego, sometimes until four in the morning.

Before you dismiss the idea, as this article explains, he’s really on to something. Block building and construction comes from deep inside us, not just for children but adults as well, and has many benefits.

The author relates her own Lego immersion with her family when they were in a recent COVID isolation. ‘…I found myself unclenching my jaws and relaxing into the play, reconnecting with some pre-Ikea self that once enjoyed focusing on a task without an end goal in mind.’

The article includes the views of some big thinkers on the importance of play, and how it benefits us at any age.

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It's time to screen all kids for anxiety, physicians' task force recommends

(Rhitu Chatterjee, npr)

We know that the last two years have had a profound impact on the mental health of many young people. Even before the pandemic, there had been a growing focus and awareness of the issue, and what needed to be done.

Of course, this was a worldwide problem, as this report from the United States reminds us. A panel of experts has recommended that all kids aged 8 to 18 be regularly screened for anxiety.

Professor Martha Kubik, a professor of nursing at George Mason University and a member of the task force, says the goal of the screenings is to help doctors and other providers identify at-risk kids early on. This would enable treatment of their illness before symptoms escalated.

The proposal has received widespread support. One expert notes that anxiety disorder can go undetected for a long time. ‘It can be quiet. Kids who are anxious are often very self-conscious and aren’t going to share this with their families or their physicians, necessarily,’ says Dr Jennifer Havens.

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These local dads are lending a helping hand and building friendships too

(Tahnee Jash and Hilary Smale, ABC Radio)

This is an uplifting story about a group of dads at a Perth primary school who decided to start helping out in the community.

A single mum was struggling with some jobs around the house, with a rental inspection due. Mike Maxted heard about it, and got a couple of other dads together to help out.

This was the beginning of Dadbury, a collective of dads who volunteer their time and skills to help others in the community. It’s grown from 11 to 60 volunteers.

‘Dadbury is not about getting a job done, it’s a thought process more than anything –  it’s the simple idea of just paying it forward,’ explains Mike.

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