The block area is an important part of our classroom. The structures the children are building have become quite detailed and intricate. We’ve used some picture cards with famous buildings for inspiration but most of the time the children are creating structures of their own designs in cooperative groups.
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), blocks help children learn in the following ways:
Socially – Blocks encourage children to make friends and cooperate. Large block play may be a young child’s first experience playing in a group, while small block play may encourage an older child to work with others in solving problems.
Physically – When children reach for, pick up, stack, or fit blocks together, they build strength in their fingers and hands, and increase eye-hand coordination. Around two, children begin to figure out which shapes will fit where, and get a head start on understanding different perspectives – skills that will help them to read maps and follow directions later on. Blocks help kindergarten and primary grade children develop skills in design, representation, balance and stability.
Intellectually – Blocks help children learn across many academic subjects. Young children develop their vocabularies as they learn to describe sizes, shapes, and positions. Preschoolers and kindergarteners develop math skills by grouping, adding, subtracting and eventually multiplying with blocks. Older children make early experiments with gravity, balance, and geometry.
Creatively – Blocks offer children the chance to make their own designs, and the satisfaction of creating structures that did not exist before. Beginning at the age of two, children may use a variety of blocks for pretend-play. Children may become life-sized actors in large block structures, or use figures to create dramas in miniature landscapes.
Pictured below are some of the amazing structures created in our classroom.