Block play is one of the most important areas of focus when we do a centre fit-out for toddlers and preschool areas. It supports learning across all strands of Te Whāriki for example:
Children learn about gravity, stability, balance, weight, measurement, symmetry, comparison, shape, size, space, depth, width, height and so much more.
Block play encourages confidence and cooperation through testing out ideas, trial and error as well as taking risks.
Children engage with their spatial awareness and stability during block play. While building and balancing the blocks, they develop stronger hand-eye-coordination too.
Block play encourages confidence and cooperation with their fellow learners to share ideas and use their imagination together to create bigger and bolder constructions/spaces.
Our tips for enhancing your Block Play area:
- Make use of multiple blocks in various shapes and sizes to incorporate geometry and mathematics into playtime. This will also allow children to take risks by placing bigger blocks on top of smaller blocks to test out weight and balance. Our Unit Blocks offer a variety of sizes and shapes to start with, while our Arches and Tunnels provide opportunities for rounded tunnels and interesting circular designs to add to the construction.
- It’s always good to incorporate automobiles, roadways and road signs, people, animals and other loose parts into the block play area for further creativity and imagination. This allow imaginative play and storytelling to be incorporated into the setup.
- Make sure the blocks are placed where both toddlers and pre-schoolers can reach it, especially if you have a mixed aged room /space.
- Make sure there is enough floor space for extended building, but do incorporate small tables and raised platforms to create height within the play area for extended building opportunities. Although it is encouraged for children of various ages to play and work together, higher tables/benches or platforms will allow pre-schoolers to occasionally build more intricate designs where toddlers can’t reach it.
- Make blocks available both indoors and outdoors so that children can add natural materials to the construction play area. Our Notch Blocks are perfect for indoor and outdoor use.
- Make use of a variety of large, medium and small baskets for storage as this will encourage size / shape matching as well as easy tidying up after playtime. We do however recommend that you don’t tidy up after every play time and leave some of the constructions so that children can extend upon their creations the following days.
If your block play area offers variety, it will encourage your children to discover and develop their creativity and self-expression. These are just some of the basics among many other ideas you can incorporate. Block Play has no set rules and offers a wonderful starting point for open ended play.