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Let's Build Together!

Playing with blocks offers more skill-building than you might think

Let's Build Together!
January 2014

"Ooooh, it's going to fall!"

Whether a child is squealing with delight as a tower of blocks teeters before tumbling down or her tongue is slightly protruding from her mouth as she focuses intently on her construction project, block building offers a multitude of learning experiences. Children gain first-hand experiences that test their theories about the physical world through building with blocks. Using blocks and other objects that can be put together, children can reconstruct, on a small scale, aspects of their environment.

Children develop skills in design, representation, balance and stability when they are playing with blocks. Blocks encourage children to count, match, sort, group, add and subtract. Playing with blocks helps children develop their vocabularies, improves math skills, and even teaches them about gravity, balance and geometry. As children build and experiment with different types of blocks they are enhancing their problem solving skills; they learn firsthand what will and will not work. They learn how to describe colors, shapes, sizes and positions as they build various structures. They learn to problem-solve and to work together.

Ordinary boxes and containers found around the house can be used as blocks. Family members and friends will happily recycle empty containers for your child to use for building play. Often young children participate in block building if a caring adult is playing beside them. By assisting your child, you can help her achieve more learning and enjoyment from playing with blocks. Follow your child's lead during block play, asking, "How may I help? I see you put a lot of blocks on top of each other. Can you tell me about your building?"

Don't forget that the deconstruction (falling down of blocks!) is an integral part of block play. Children gain understanding of the construction process when the project either collapses or is taken apart, examined and rebuilt. Celebrate and laugh with your child when the tower of blocks teeters and tumbles down. What fun you will have together as you watch it come down and then as you build it up again together!

Tags: Around Town, In This Issue, Local

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