Playing with all manner of blocks is a hugely popular activity here at Aston Childcare. We have a variety of blocks the children love to play with – Large foam blocks, Small foam blocks, wooden number and alphabet blocks, Duplo blocks, Megablocks, natural coloured wooden construction and brightly coloured wooden construction blocks. However, it wasn’t until I completed some recent training in emerging maths skills in the early years that I stopped to think how much the children were learning and gaining from such a simple activity.
The course stated that –
It’s been more than two hundred years since Friedrich Froebel introduced wooden shapes for children to explore, take apart, and put together. Since then, blocks have been shown to aid the development of young children. Jean Piaget’s theory of stages, for instance, tells us that children develop social, physical, and logico-mathematical knowledge through playing with manipulative materials such as blocks.
It went on to say how Block play supports the development of children’s problem-solving, shape, size and pattern reasoning by providing opportunities to count for a purpose and use the language of quantity and size (more, fewer, longer, shorter etc).
It also explained how Children gain direct experience of the properties of shapes, how to describe shapes, how to use the correct mathematical terms to describe shapes, and how the different blocks fit together.
And explained how it related to measure When children play with blocks, they are practicing mathematical skills. In selecting blocks of different sizes and shapes and comparing surface volumes and areas, for example, they are unwittingly using classification and seriation (Hirsch, 1996).
Block play involves measuring lengths, widths, and heights (if only by eye) and therefore supports children to develop their ability to visualise how a finished structure may look” .
It was so nice to learn that something we have out every day here was helping the children in their emerging maths skills as well as covering other areas of learning too.
Areas of Learning Covered: Mathematics, Communication & Language, Expressive Arts and Design, Physical Development and Personal, Social and Emotional Development.