All About Block Play

Play is the work of children, and one thing that children love to play with is blocks! See below for the Harry S Truman College’s Child Development Program’s thoughts on block play and a review of some of our favorite blocks.

Why is block play so important?

During block play, children utilize many skills. Block play enhances children’s problem-solving abilities and mathematical skills such as measurement, comparison, number, estimation, symmetry, and balance. Language and literacy abilities are built when children talk about their creations, label and make signs, and negotiate building plans with their peers. While children are constructing their creations, they are building self-esteem and feelings of success. When engaging in block play, children discover that they have ideas that can be brought to life by creating, modifying, breaking down, and re-creating something unique to call their own.

Evaluate Block Areas

· Is the block area in a location free from traffic and are the boundaries clear?

· Are the blocks arranged on shelves orderly and attractively conducive to constructive play (and clean up)?

· Are sufficient accessories and props arranged near the area to enrich the block play?

· Are referenced materials available (e.g.: books and pictures about airports, etc.) to clarify and extend the learning developed during block building?

Block Product Reviews

What You Get

Product Name: Make It Fun Project Bricks

Why Leslie choose these blocks:

I chose these blocks because they bridge the gap between art, engineering, and history. Their real brick shape and texture make them a great choice for reconstructing real world structures from the pyramids in Egypt to the Washington Monument. The blocks can be cut, glued, and shaped to create permanent structures.

Things to know before buying these blocks:

These blocks could be frustrating for children if an adult did not spend time modeling how to use them as they do not stack like regular blocks. They also create dust and require a flat surface that can be cleaned.

What You Get

Product Name: Imagination Playground Small Blue Blocks

Why Leslie choose these blocks:

Actually Kate chose these blocks because she loves the big set that comes with Imagination Playgrounds and I agree! These blocks come with many unique shapes, fasteners, and joiners that teach engineering skills such as: problem solving, perseverance, and cooperation. The neutral blue color allows children to build from their own imaginations without any prompting from the toy.

Things to know before buying these blocks:

The small blocks set may be a bit too small for little hands under 2 or 3 years old, they also come with a marble that is a choking hazard.

What You Get

Product Name: Plan Toys Sensory Blocks

Why Angela choose these blocks:

I chose these blocks because they are safe and sturdy enough for the youngest infants. Each of the nine blocks includes a different sensory component including tactile, auditory, and visual blocks. During the first two years, children learn through exploring their senses. These blocks use a familiar toy to introduce novel sensory stimulation to support development and curiosity.

Things to know before buying these blocks:

The colors distract from the sensory element of the blocks. For this age I would prefer that the blocks were multi-colored or sensory but not both.

Many thanks to Kate Connor & Angela Cotromanes for contributing!