Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The following information on the importance of block play comes from National Association of Young Children (NAEYC)
Socially -- Blocks encourage children to make friends and cooperate. Large block play may be a young child's first experience playing in a group, while small block play may encourage an older child to work with others in solving problems.
Physically -- When children reach for, pick up, stack, or fit blocks together, they build strength in their fingers and hands, and increase eye-hand coordination. Around two, children begin to figure out which shapes will fit where, and get a head start on understanding different perspectives -- skills that will help them to read maps and follow directions later on. Blocks help kindergarten and primary grade children develop skills in design, representation, balance and stability.
Intellectually -- Blocks help children learn across many academic subjects. Young children develop their vocabularies as they learn to describe sizes, shapes, and positions. Preschoolers and kindergarteners develop math skills by grouping, adding,
subtracting and eventually multiplying with blocks. Older children make early experiments with gravity, balance, and geometry
Creatively -- Blocks offer children the chance to make their own designs, and the satisfaction of creating structures that did not exist before. Beginning at the age of two, children may use a variety of blocks for pretend-play. Children may become life-sized actors in large block structures, or use figures to create dramas in miniature landscapes.
Children value their own block structures whether or not they represent specific things. Rather than asking a child, "What did you make?" say, "Tell me about what you made." This will encourage a dialog and offer the child new opportunities to explore.
Hirsch, E.S. 1996. The Block Book.(Third Ed.) Washington, DC: NAEYC. #132/$5.
NAEYC. 1993. Block Play: Constructing Realities (video). Washington, DC: NAEYC.#838/$39.