Playing with blocks
Playing with blocks is not only fun, but also helps children develop many skills.
As simple as it may seem, playing with blocks is big play. It is the type of play that from the very young age of typically 6 month up to the age of 5 youth enjoy. Not only can it be an enjoyment for young children, it also helps develop numerous skills. Every house that has young children should have building blocks for them. Whether children are playing alone or with other children, Michigan State University Extension notices they gain a sense of accomplishment with their built structures.
This sense of accomplishment can be seen when a young child around 6 months old stacks two blocks for the first time. How proud they are is evident from their smiles as they do it over and over again. The more blocks available, the more children can play. Blocks can help draw children’s attention. As children’s structures become more and more complex they continue to feel a sense of accomplishment. That is what is so wonderful about blocks. Consider thinking about building blocks similar to a fairy tale led by their imagination.
When block play consists of more than one child, the child also gains social and emotional skills. Interaction with other children also helps develop language skills. As children square off for the block they want or build together and their structure takes a different approach from the other child or worse yet, the structure is knocked down, children are faced with problem solving essential social skills. They also cannot problem solve without using language. As children mature, block play becomes pretend play. It starts very simple and basic eventually becoming more sophisticated play that may include additional props, like small people, Barbie’s, larger boards, books, farms animals, play dinosaurs and whatever else is needed to complete their play theme. According to Teaching Young Children, throughout their block playing, children are developing math skills as they create patterns to build a bridge support, organizing blocks by size and shape, or create a space or area for enclosures. Architecture and engineering skills are also shown as they build structures that must be stable and balanced; ramps need to be supported, columns can support arches and bridge spaces, and tunnels will collapse if not properly supported. Parents can also take the opportunity to teach words like; under, over, through, on top of or inside. Parents can also add shape related words like arch, triangle, rectangle, square and cylinder. Playing with blocks is fun learning and allows young children to explore at the same time.