• Blocks can be used by children of all ages – individually or as a group. They are non-threatening, meaning there is no real standard of achievement. They are clean to use, hugely versatile and allow a child to create and destroy their own work (destroying is a big part of the fun!).
Among other things, block play helps children develop –
This is where things really get fun.
Combine the blocks with toy cars, a train, some farm animals or miniature people, and the stories and dramatic play will begin to flow.
Dramatic play is important because it helps develop social and language skills; allows the expression of positive and negative feelings; teaches children to negotiate, take turns and resolve conflict; and helps children make sense of the world.
Toppling as dominoes
Making geometric shapes
Figuring out how many small blocks make up the length of a longer block
Testing the weights of blocks using a rope and pulley system (suspended from the roof) with a bucket either side
Using blocks in the sandpit
Using blocks with playdough
Making a maze
Making a small obstacle course
Using blocks in dramatic play
Building a city
Building a farm yard or zoo
Constructing a model of the Sky Tower
A good set of blocks is essential for any early learning centre.
Playcentre recommends the following as a minimum:
See the Playcentre basic equipment list for more details.
Blocks are fantastically versatile by themselves, but if you want to stimulate dramatic play, you'll need some accessories:
Block play relates particularly to Strand 5 of Te Whāriki, which is Exploration/Mana Aotūroa.
To learn more about Te Whāriki, visit the website.
Our thanks to the Auckland Playcentre Shop for permission to use this article. Great play starts here.