The value of block play….
It’s easy to see how building with blocks involves developing concepts in science and math.
- Counting out blocks and patterns.
- There is definitely work with some of the laws of physic – balance and gravity. Through their exploration with blocks, children learn how to make that wall steady, how to balance weight equally, how to adjust for height.
- They are also learning about three-dimensionality, measurement, and geometric shapes.
- They are classifying and mentally visualizing relationships.
Wow! That’s a lot for just playing with simple blocks. But we’re not done with our learning….
Playing with blocks allows for individual exploration and group play. In the group play there is language development and social interaction. Often block play is not done in isolation, but as part of a group which supports positive social interaction. There is also a deep use of language that is not part of what I would consider common conversation. Social and emotional skills are developed as they share their block play with other children. They learn to cooperate in building together. During individual play there is development of attention span and self awareness.
Block play often involves dramatic play: children built a wall up and wait for another to “blow it down”; they make garages for their cars; build space ships, airplanes, rockets….
Having accessories like little people, animals, and cars available for inclusion in the play helps children move from just building walls and towers to creating imaginary playscapes. This play supports learning about the real world by allowing children to act out what they are exposed to in their lives.
All motor skills are involved.
So much happens developmentally when playing with blocks.
Block play grows and changes through repeated use and past experience. Blocks are materials that can be used by all ages at the same time. Because I believe in the learning value of blocks I want to always have a variety of them available within the space.
This past week saw a new addition to our wooden block basket. I took advantage of an offer from my husband to cut up some quality pine that remained from new window casing. Thinking “Lincoln Logs” I had him cut the wood strips into lengths of 6″, 8″ and 12″. I was interested to see how quickly these new additions would be found and what play would evolve.
- Found immediately in the early morning and got used as walls for partitioning off garages.
- became more involved next day once old children joined in – zoo, house – check out the entrance way -
While this play was going on other wooden blocks were used in the kitchen area. Not a common use, but it seemed it was about wooden block play just now -
- Over the rest of the week this play continued. There was also tower building and for others use of different building materials like the legos and bristle blocks.