As I was preparing the new space, one of the things I knew right from the beginning was that I wanted to designate a large area for block and loose parts play. When the school was in my house, the children always impressed me with their ingenuity and creativity as they played with blocks, but we were always a little limited by the size of the space, as well as the fact that it was my living room when school was not in session, so I would have everything put away at night. However, now that we have moved, the children have new blocks, and lots of them, as well as the space to create and leave their creation up for a little bit of time. Here are some pictures of the block area as well as the children interacting with it.
We have lots of loose parts (shells, rocks, odd bit of wood, tiles, cogs and gears),
unit blocks, mirror blocks, door and window blocks, hollow blocks, cones, round pedestals, jewelry stackers, platforms, and I could keep going, I just love it all.
One of the features I love in the block area is this domed safety mirror. I placed it above the building platform to give the children a different perspective to look at their creations, but it is also fun to look into and see the whole room and yourself.
This is a team effort one morning when the princesses decided they wanted to make a castle they could actually walk into. As they worked they discussed back and forth with each other on their phones to see how the progress was going. Such industrial princesses, these were not damsels in distress sitting in a tower, they were damsels making the tower!
As they worked ramps and bridges were being created because the rocks and water were being washed up on the road.
I love the architectural design of this house, it is a very Modern Art influenced abode.
On another morning the fire fighters were getting a bit rowdy, so I suggested maybe they could make a building that they would rescue. I didn't want to stop them from their play, it was very dramatic and filled with imagination, they just needed a focus, and so by making the building they were able to channel some of their excess energy into something, while continuing with the game they were playing.
Here the children created a landing strip for their planes.
Unfortunately, this plane had a crash landing.
On other days the block area is abstract and filled with different possibilities as they make choices as to what to build, discover what works and doesn't work, and essentially develop cognitive thinking skills.
The beauty of blocks is that they are an engaging play toy, however all the while the children are playing with them, they are gaining significant skills such as, spatial awareness, trial and error, basic math concepts such as size, shape, space, sequencing and area, social skills and logical reasoning, as well as creative and divergent thinking. That is why play is so important, it helps build a strong foundation in so many leaning areas without pressure and stress so the mind can really process what is being learned. In essence, play such as this, opens the door to so many other learning possibilities in early childhood education, but also as they grow and continue on their education path.