Blocks Build Bright Kids in Cypress Preschool in Cypress, California
The “unit”-based measurements of halves, doubles and quadruples, combined with columns, ramps, curves, buttresses and other specialized shapes, lay the foundations for basic math and geometry. Balance and collapse teach the nature of gravity. Ramps and columns can be used to make simple levers and fulcrums. The need to place blocks carefully develops hand-eye co-ordination.
Blocks build math, organizational, visual, coordination, and spatial skills. They’re super for creativity and imagination, and they’re fantastic for building problem-solving abilities. It’s difficult to find a better toy for all age groups of children. And the selection is huge- from cardboard construction blocks for toddlers to the tiniest, most intricate Lego bricks for older children.
Most parents remember the joy of dumping out boxes filled with blocks made of smooth hardwood in all shapes and sizes. The possibilities seemed endless. The blocks today are even fancier… Lego bricks can be manipulated and fashioned into something that may even move and light up!
Children build large and small muscle groups when they learn to grasp, carry, stack and balance.
Blocks offer many open-ended opportunities to stimulate thinking. “If I put this block here, what will happen over there?” “I can put nine block on this tower, but the tenth one makes it fall over.” “I have to build a bridge to get these two towers to connect.” When kids are playing with blocks, they are constantly solving problems, and they learn many ways to accomplish an objective.
Social and emotional development
Blocks offer great opportunities for sharing and cooperating. Pretend-play with blocks increases verbal skills as children create pretend scenarios that allow their creativity and imaginations to soar. Confidence is built when they figure out how to solve problems. They feel strong and smart when they discover they can construct something that they imagined.
What Parents Can Do
Provide an area for block play. It’s best to have a place away from high-traffic areas so building can occur without the possibility of having everything knocked over. A smooth, flat surface such as a floor, table, or desk works well. Trying to build on plush carpets will lead to lots of frustration.
Provide a variety of blocks. Blocks do not have to be purchased. They can be made from boxes and milk cartons. Most parents agree that you can’t go wrong investing in plastic interlocking bricks such as Legos or Mega Blocks or soft foam blocks.
Provide accessories. Kids will think of all kinds of ways to use plastic people, vehicles, and animals. Bits of material, scarves, dollhouse furniture, traffic signs, ect., are props that enrich the play. A well-equipped block area often includes books with pictures of castles, bridges, hospitals, skyscrapers, and other structures that inspire young architects. Helpful hints…try adding some shaving foam to soft form blocks, it acts as a mortar…or freeze the Lego people standing up in ice trays to go ice-skating in the ice rink they will build.
Provide accessible storage. Open shelves work much better than a storage bin or box. When children can see the blocks, it’s easier for them to keep on building instead of having to dig for the right size and color. Having a good place for them assures an easier cleanup.
Provide encouragement. Relax and encourage the work in progress. If you can let the structure stand for a day or two, be sure and do so. If you can’t let the structure stand, you might consider taking a picture and even making a ‘block book’.