As parents drop off children at FUMP, there is inevitably a crowd of children in the block center. Why does it draw children in? What is the magic behind block play?
As educators, we know that young children develop through a predictable sequence of milestones. Just as an infant sits, crawls and then walks, other areas of development emerge in a similar pattern. There are even developmental stages of block play. Block play emerges as follows: Carries blocks from place to place; does not actually build, Begins building—child makes mostly rows, Creates bridging—two blocks with a space between them, connected by third block, Builds enclosures—blocks placed in such a way that they enclose a space, Names structures and uses them in dramatic play themes and finally, Creates building that represents or symbolizes actual structures.
It is in the final stages of block play, that children’s imagination and creativity soars.
Why are children so drawn to blocks? For me, the answer is ENDLESS POSSIBILITY. Blocks are simple enough to manipulate and use – and there is no preconceived product. Children can use blocks in endless ways and create their own unique experiences with them, according to their age and interests. When you read the listing on the left, you see how many opportunities for learning that children can experience. Even more valuable, children can conduct their learning, without it being adult-led.
So often times, children receive a toy that has a “single answer” like a puzzle. Children can only use the toy in one specific way, and can quickly tire of them. Having open-ended playthings without a prescribed “goal” means that children can use all of the creativity and imagination to create new experiences. Blocks allow them to customize the play experience every time.
So now you will know what we see as your child plays with blocks.