Blocks are great for children of all ages! Not only do they support fine motor skills, dexterity and hand-eye coordination, but block play helps foster problem-solving skills, creativity, and social skills.
Sort blocks by shapes & size
Talk about the shapes of the blocks e.g. rectangles, squares and triangles, as well as the colours and varying sizes of blocks. When sorting blocks use comparison words like which one is “bigger than”, “smaller than”, and “the same as”. It’s a simple way to introduce mathematical concepts!
- “Those blocks are bigger than these blocks”
- “Your block is green. My block is yellow.”
While playing with the blocks, simply count how many there are. Or to increase complexity, create different groups of blocks and compare many how many are in this pile versus how many are in that pile – discuss which has more or less.
- “1 block, 2 blocks, 3 blocks!”
- “My pile has 2 blocks, your pile has 4 blocks. You have more blocks than I do.”
Show your child how to build a tower or certain structures and let your little one copy. Stacking big blocks on top of each other helps foster perception and an understanding of the relationships between shapes and how they fit together. To successfully copy what you did, kids need to pay attention and problem solve. For example, they may discover that if they create a bigger base for the tower it can be built higher without collapsing!
Introduce Complex Structures
As kids grow, introduce more complex structures – like asking them to build a bride or building! They must identify the task and plan how they will achieve it by brainstorming possible ways of building the structure. They then choose the best option and give it a go! Should this plan not work, they must reassess their options and try another plan – this encourages flexible thinking and reasoning!
Play in a group
Block play with other kids is a great way for your child to learn and build social skills. Encourage kids to share blocks, explore each other’s ideas, plan a design and build it together.