ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

Block Play in Early Childhood Development

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In our class blocks have been a hotspot of inspiration and learning. Playing with blocks keeps children very engaged and interested. Using blocks creates challenges and repeated use inspires children to be more creative and work on more complex structures.

Through block play children learn:

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(Image sourced from: http://www.stevenscoop.org/news/article/index.aspx?linkid=60&moduleid=39) 

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Ffion, Alex, Walker and Nicolas decided to draw a plan on how to use the blocks to build a train, plane and a castle. In order to put their plan into action, there was a lot of sharing of and building on ideas.

When building with blocks the children are not only using their imagination but are also able to describe and narrate their story.

Here are some of their descriptions:

“A very tall tower for all of us to live in and hide from the baddies.” Karson and Walker
“A scary dinosaur castle and the dinosaurs are looking for children to eat.” Edward
“A castle with wheels.” Alexander
“We can do a train and also a bridge.” Edward, Walker and Nicolas
“A garage for the trains.” Ffion, Anika, Edward

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The range of math skills the children are exploring are: counting, measuring, comparing length and width, names of shapes, and how to combine some geometric shapes to make other shapes. They are even learning the basics of addition when they discover that two short blocks will be the same length as big block.

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“Look Mrs. Rao, if I put two small blocks they are the same as the big one.” Karson

“Two small rectangle blocks are the same as the big rectangle one.” Walker

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“We have 13 blocks and you have more.” Edward.

“I am taller than this tower.” Zane
“I am taller than the tower, but shorter than Zane.” Amy
“I am shorter than the tower. I cannot see Zane.” Annabel

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“Thank you for sharing the blocks with us.” Nicolas

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Children experiment with science concepts such as forces, when they learn how to balance the blocks to avoid their constructions from falling.

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They learn the use of simple machines such as ramps and slides through their buildings.

Here the children are experimenting to discover:

How many blocks until it topples over?

What can we do to make it balance?

What will slide down easily and what will not move when we put it on the ramp?

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Block play encourages healthy social development among children. When groups of children play with blocks together, they learn how to share, cooperate and build on each others ideas.

Author: Rajeshree Rao

My name is Rajeshree Rao. I come from India and have been teaching Early Years children at Inter Community School Zurich since 1997. I was also teaching the same age group for around 5 years in India. I love working with children and enjoy the challenges and their enthusiasm to learn and discover. In my spare time, I love to travel, cook, read and spend time with my family.

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