"The first essential for the child's development is concentration. The child who concentrates is immensely happy" ~
Wise words from Maria Montessori... and I have never seen my kids concentrate so hard as when they are building with blocks! Block play has so many benefits, so here's five reasons why I think block sets are one of the ultimate toys worth investing in and some ideas to extend play.
Block play offers space for creative learning experiences and imaginative play - children have the freedom to explore, take apart and put back together anything they can dream up. Blocks are loose parts which means they can be used in countless ways and there is no right or wrong way for them to be played with.
Working towards a goal, persevering when things don't go to plan and having patience to keep trying again are all skills that come into play with blocks. Blocks are great for developing problem-solving and reasoning skills.
Children can explore early concepts of scientific reasoning - making hypotheses and investigations. They can experiment with cause and effect and blocks can also teach them about 3D perception, weight, balance and gravity.
The development of spatial awareness and hand-eye coordination occurs as children lift, move, reach for and build with blocks. It strengthens their fingers, hands and arms and is great for both fine and gross motor development.
Little ones will experience a sense of achievement as they try things out, finding out what works and what doesn't! Working as a group, sharing resources, building self esteem and taking pride in their accomplishments are just some of the amazing benefits of cooperative block play.
SOME IDEAS TO EXTEND BLOCK PLAY
✧ Additional loose parts or other resources such as play dough, small world characters or props and animals work really well with blocks. Are they creating a zoo? A farm? A city? A fire station? The possibilities are endless!
✧ Add props for road play or town scenes including cars and trucks of different sizes, road signs, plants, road mats, ramps etc. Tape could be used to map out roads and you can use other materials such as cardboard to create garages and tunnels
✧ Incorporate mirrors of different sizes and shapes to encourage visibility and 3D effects while building
✧ Provide pictures of bridges, buildings and other designs for them to try and replicate
✧ Add paper, pens, measuring tape, clipboards and other ‘design’ tools to help older children plan out and construct their ideas. Encourage them to plan a project on paper before building, or to draw what they have built after construction. This is useful first step towards communicating ideas through drawing and writing.
✧ Use non traditional blocks - what can you find in the cupboards and around the house that can build and stack to add interest to their play?
✧ Use tables, platforms or benches to change the perspective, or take the blocks outside
We have a wide range of beautiful, handcrafted and unique wooden block sets available - perfect for hours of open ended play. They are ethically handcrafted from sustainably sourced wood and gorgeous, heirloom quality - pieces you will want to hold onto for future generations. I hope you love them as much as we do!