Block play creates wonderful opportunity for learning in so many ways. When children place blocks in various arrangements both fine and gross motor skills are developed, muscles are exercised and creativity is utilized. Your child’s imagination is given free reign as he/she makes towers, houses, roads and towns.
Thus, with block play a whole variety of other learning opportunities take place. The building of towns may be seen as the beginning of social studies. Children can even replicate their own neighborhood and as they represent each structure their problem solving skills come into play. How to make a bridge? A tunnel? Are long blocks better than short blocks?
Stay close to your child as they play. Ask them “How many red blocks are there?” “How many blue?” Sort out the shapes and colours. Thus the beginnings of mathematics can also be understood. Besides counting you can also weigh and measure.
How about language skills? As your child plays, shoot a short movie of them as you entice them to talk about their creation. What is this? Why is it there? Use open ended questions which will require expanded answers. Talk about block shapes, sizes, colours and patterns, straight lines and towers. Encourage descriptions of all type.
A boy or girl, almost all kids love block play. You don't have to buy expensive blocks for your children to play with either. Why not make them at home with your kids? You can clean out and dry used milk cartons then paper mache and paint them. Try folding the ends flat first and then use woodworking glue and news paper strips to cover each carton. Give them a day to dry and then help your child paint them. You can even draw windows to create individual buildings too. Add different sized boxes to the mix and you can do all sorts of things.
The quickest way to make your own block set however is to buy scrap wood from your local timbre yard or DIY store. Cut them to size (in most cases the store will do it for you) and then clean them up and paint them.
Encourage your child to build in a creative space where they can return to play with it day after day. Block play results in a sense of completion. It encourages many skills and it is great for building hand-eye co-ordination, self esteem and self confidence.