Our older class in Room F loves to build with blocks. Not a day goes by without a group of children creating some structure or roadway.
We always try to get the “big blocks” out at least once a year to provide an opportunity for building on a larger scale. We put the blocks out in the shape of a pirate ship on the first day for inspiration.
It didn’t take long before captains were giving orders and treasure maps were being drawn.
The following day, we let the children do the building. They decided to make another pirate ship that was larger with two steering wheels and a long plank. It was fun for us to stand back and watch them negotiate who would be the captains, the crew and who would steer the ship. They acted out various scenarios about good and bad pirates and the best routes to take for finding hidden treasure.
Later the class decided to make a “jump course” or obstacle course complete with ramps and balance beams. The children did a great job building something that was creative and challenging.
I love block play because it is so open-ended. It’s not only fun but there is also a lot of learning happening. Children are practicing measuring, weighing, spatial awareness, sequencing, counting and problem solving – fundamental skills for learning math and science. Big block moving takes a lot of muscle, patience and teamwork. Block play also stimulates imaginative dramatic play, promotes language development and builds social skills.
Children who play with blocks are not only having a great time constructing structures, but they are building skills that are fundamental in their development.