For decades early childhood education experts have expressed enthusiasm for block play. This classic instructional technique encourages brain development in children, allowing them to develop problem-solving and social skills and grapple with abstract concepts like continuity and permanence, according to Scholastic. Of course, deploying this technique in modern classrooms can be difficult, as modern kids require a little more stimulation than their predecessors.
So, before you break out the blocks, look over these methods for modernizing block play:
Find new materials and more space
Traditional block play sets are effective but offer few options for kids with especially active imaginations. Consider acquiring more diverse shapes such as cylinders and flat wooden slats to give these students more options, the National Association for the Education of Young Children advised. This simple move may jumpstart your kids' imaginations and promote better early brain development. Look for materials with interesting textures as well.
You might think about upping the size of your block play space to fit larger creations. Again, this will help children expand their imaginations and may even promote group play, which carries unique benefits.
Consider the computer
For older kids, school-aged kids transitioning out of block play into more complex activities, electronic devices equipped with age-appropriate learning games are also an option. For instance, in recent years, early childhood education practitioners have started deploying the popular block-building game "Minecraft" in classroom settings, The New York Times reported. In the game, players use cubes to build miniature worlds equipped with natural features such as stone formations and waterways within a 3-D sandbox environment. And, "Minecraft" includes engineered roadblocks that require users to flex their problem-solving muscles.
There are myriad games like this on the market, many of which cost less than a dollar. This gives you the opportunity to put a whole new spin on traditional block learning and keep kids engaged.
Want to learn more about block learning and the concepts behind it? ProSolutions provides many online CDA classes and early childhood education training courses, including "Block Play as a Creative Learning Strategy." Contact us today to learn more.