Blocks: So much more than building
Blocks are one of the most important learning tools and children as young as six months can enjoy playing with blocks.
As simple as blocks may seem, they are one of the most important types of learning tools for young children. Blocks give children an opportunity to express their ideas, interpret what they observe and express their feelings. Children discover height, balance and directionality as they play with blocks. Young children also learn to judge the amount of space required to enclose themselves or a toy, animal or car by playing with blocks. They can also be used to explore distance as they select a block to make a bridge over their road.
Ideas, information and creativity are coordinated as children play with blocks. In addition, important math skills such as sorting and categorizing will be developed as children are involved in block play. Moreover, early science skills are also developed through blocks as children experience gravity as blocks topple down or the small toy car runs down the ramps they built.
Children as young as six months can enjoy playing with blocks. As a parent, it is important to have different types of blocks available for your young child as you can offer many opportunities for your child to have creative block time. Michigan State University Extension suggests starting with a few of the following types of blocks in your child’s block collection:
- Basic wood building blocks
- Bristle Blocks
- Foam blocks
- Duplo blocks
- Cardboard blocks
- Cloth blocks
- Pattern blocks
- ABC blocks
- Giant blocks
- Plastic blocks
- Lincoln Logs
Make sure you store your child’s blocks in a location that will allow ample building space and allow your child to leave block structures set up so they can add to them day after day. As children mature block play becomes pretend play. It starts very simple and basic and eventually becomes more sophisticated play that may include additional props, like small people, Barbies, larger boards, books, farms animals, play dinosaurs and whatever else is needed to complete their play theme.
Remember playing with blocks provides young children with fun learning experiences and allows them to explore at the same time. For additional ideas about children playing with blocks, visit North Dakota State University Extension.