Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Article from The Way He Plays

1. Inspire creativity and imagination.

Blocks allow children to be builders and creators. They can design anything they like and be as adventurous as they want. Build a city or a zoo, a castle or cave and watch the dramatic play explode around it!

2. Develop mathematical concepts.

Building and experimenting with blocks help children to naturally learn about mathematical concepts and understandings such as higher, wider, taller, shorter, heavier, how many more, etc. Numbers, measurement, geometry and probability are all explored in a fun way without the children even realising it!

3. Match all developmental levels.

Blocks grow with the child and are always appropriate for changing developmental skills. From grasping them as a baby, stacking and knocking them over as a toddler, to beginning to explore structure making with a purpose and using them alongside dramatic play, children will always find a way to be able to use them.

4. Can be played with alone or with others.

There is no exclusion for block play. Playing with them on your own, with a friend or in a small group all provide fun play experiences and opens block play up to new opportunities.

5. Develop physical skills.

Learning to use blocks will help to develop both fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It's tricky learning to balance blocks together to form a tower and in doing so the children experience the physical benefits in other parts of their lives too.

6. Build confidence.

Just by looking at the face of a child who has managed to build a tower or structure you can see the pride and excitement oozing from them. These are excellent feelings to encourage!

7. Strengthen problem solving skills.

The tower won't stay up? They can't quite get the bridge to hold together? Building with blocks allows children to practice and develop their problem solving skills through trial and error. And the best thing about using blocks for this is that it is really obvious whether their solution has worked or not!

8. Develop social skills.

Sharing and cooperating in small groups is a tough skill for children to learn and use successfully. Using blocks together naturally means they will be working on these things. What will they do if they both need the same block? What roles will each child have as they build their structure together? It is very interesting to sit back and watch them try to sort through these issues.

9. Increase language vocabulary.

Blocks allow the development of all sorts of language skills. With your help blocks will build vocabulary for descriptive language (colours, sizes, shapes), comparative language (bigger, smaller), social language (asking questions, using manners) and topic specific language as they learn about parts of a castle or jobs in a city through associated dramatic play.

10. Encourage goal setting.

Children love to set their own challenges while using blocks, 'I'm going to build a tower bigger than me' you might hear them exclaim! Working towards their goals and using their problem solving skills to get there can keep them actively engaged for long periods of time!

If you are interested in learning more about encouraging block play for reluctant users I highly recommend that you read this post about Encouraging Block Play from Happiness is Here. Although it is written with girls in mind, the ideas would be just as effective for encouraging boys too. Plus it is full of beautiful photos and wonderful inspiration!

Best Teacher Supply has a great selection of blocks and construction toys.  Visit the store or out website today.