3 Block Building Activities To Do!

March 31, 2016

In any solid early childhood center, one should find various centers for play and exploration. You have seen them before: art, housekeeping, book center, and BLOCKS! You gotta have blocks! Almost all the little boys love the block center and the girls do too, they just play differently while in the block center.  What you may not know, is kids aren’t just playing with blocks.  They are exploring.  They are learning.  They are creating.  Let’s talk about what’s actually going on from an early childhood educator perspective in the block center. What do kids learn when they:

Balance blocks on top of one another:

At a very early age, kids take small one to two inch blocks and stack them on top of one another.  This is actually a skill most developmental tests look at when determining if your child is maturing at a typical rate.  As they stack these small blocks on top of one another, they are gaining physical coordination skills.  They are learning to look closely at the surface are and stack well, so the block will stay on top.  There’s depth perception skills and learning to control ones body movements to get it in just the right spot.  After learning to stack these small blocks, they will move to enjoying stacking the large cardboard “brick” blocks and oh what fun it is to stack it up, count them and then knock ’em down! Hours spent again squatting, reaching and stacking and then coordinating more motor skills as he learns to stack even higher. Rote counting how many blocks there are in the tower and then learning social skills, as he learns it’s not nice to knock over your friend’s tower.

Some blocks every baby should have are some like these.

Blocks that Toddlers enjoy are these!

Wooden Blocks that will last Forever are these.

Put Blocks in trucks and dump them out:

Often when in a block center, it’s nice to have some large trucks that resemble pick up trucks on the road or dump trucks.  It is great fun to pick up a load and drive around and then dump out your load at the worksite or just two feet away! The imagination is full of great stories of what’s going on as they fill and dump. While they are doing all that filling and dumping, they are learning some practical concepts of weight and size.  You see, these are math and science skills in action and they will, like many of their fathers, try to discover what the maximum load they can carry without some falling out or popping the tires on the truck! Ha!

Here is a perfect dump truck to have around the block center in your home.

Get this Tonka Truck for a Fabulous Birthday Gift.

Add long strips of black construction paper with white dash lines drawn on them to the area, for them to use to create their own roads to drive on!

Use blocks and animals to create a zoo:

If you make blocks available, at some point they will get bored with just the blocks, so changing out the extra stuff like the aforementioned trucks and roads with animals is a great way to spark dramatic play.  When kids create animal cages or habitats like they see in a zoo, they are recreating the world around them.  These are geography skills.  As they build and work with you, siblings, or friends, they learn social skills and how to work together.  Again, their imaginations are at work and healthy brain connections are being made, as they create and talk and redo it better the 14th time they build the zoo.  You’ll wanna keep some construction paper, markers, scissors and tape handy too, so they can make a sign of all the animal habitats! Have fun with them! You will never wish in 20 years you had worked more or had a cleaner house.

Here are some zoo animals that are just the right size.

Farm animals are great to have too!

No kid ever said no to a good Log Set.

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