- was invented by Friedrich Froebel more than two hundred years ago.
- is designed for children’s educational development
- is perfect for children’s educational development due to their characteristic playfulness and curiosity.
Early age brain development and block play
Children exhibit mathematical awareness long before they go to school:
- Young infants: these show recognition of addition or subtraction of visual items
- 2- 3 years: these can use physical models to solve mathematical problems that are not verbal.
- By 3 years or 4 years: at this age children can enumerate, subitize, count, perform informal mathematical operations like addition of objects, subtraction, division etcetera.
Fields of study spanned by block play
Block play spans a number of fields of study. These include:
- Math and science
- Reading and writing
- Creativity and problem solid
- Social and emotional skills
- Physical skills
Specific skills children acquire through block play
Block play gives children a variety of skills. These include:
- Spatial relationships
- Ordinal numbers
- Number recognition
- Addition and subtraction
- Word problems
- Skip counting
- Scales and weights
Developmental Stages of block play
Consider the following scenarios showing the progressive development during block play:
- Let children group blocks of the same color
- Let children arrange blocks according to their shapes and sizes
- Let the children place two blocks near each other and observe the distance between them
- Let children construct a house using blocks
Contribution of block play to early classrooms
A good block building is characterized by:
- Well chosen materials (blocks)
- A good teacher
- A conducive playing environment
It is the responsibility of administrators of early childhood classrooms to ensure that block play’s input to kindergarten education is maximized.
Role of teachers in block-play facilitation
Teachers have a good opportunity to utilize the strength of block play in the introduction of new ideas to children. Mathematical concepts which may otherwise be hard to introduce are introduced with a lot of simplicity. For instance, the introduction of the idea of division to children may prove to be difficult without the use of models like blocks. The teacher can pick several blocks and divide them between two children in order to make them understand the concept of division.
Role of parents in block-play facilitation
The existence of the idea of block play gives parents an opportunity to ensure that their children are engaged in productive games when they become idle at home. Parents should buy their children blocks and learn how to teach their children through block play. This way they will be able to control their children’s activities without much resistance.
Block play for children with special needs
Teachers and parents have the responsibility to actively involve children with disabilities in bock playing activities. This can be done by parents buying the children their own blocks. Teachers could also visit them from time to time to check their progress. The children could also be combined with other children depending on the nature of the disability. The teacher can then offer them special assistance to make sure that they get the best out of their block play.
Block play has proved to be one of the most effective methods of teaching in early childhood classrooms. This is due to the fact that children learn in the process of playing. Early childhood classroom administrators should ensure that there is a block playing system in these classrooms to aid in the learning process of children. Parents should also learn to invest in blocks to help their children develop the skills discussed.
Milnes, Sheila. “Block Play Builds Learning Skills.” 2009. Web.
O’Hara, Patricia. “Early Math Skills: Building Blocks.” 2005. Web.
Olsen, Teri. “LEGO Math Activities.” 2009. Web.
Phelps, Pamela. “Block Play: Math and Literacy.” 2008. Web.