What Kids Learn From Playing With Blocks

Blocks are seen in nearly all early childhood education classrooms and in homes that have young children. While it may seem like children are simply playing with blocks, children learn a variety of skills that shape both their academic and social growth. A variety of block sizes and shapes are available to suit children at different stages of development.

1. Math Skills

• Children are able to explore a variety of mathematical skills and concepts through block play. Counting, the cornerstone of mathematics, is a skill that children can acquire through block play. While playing with different sized, shaped and colored blocks, children also learn to sort the blocks based on their attributes. Children learn how to recognize and create patterns using different types of blocks. Different shaped blocks are ideal concrete representations of shapes -- rectangles, squares, circles and octagons. Playing with these manipulatives also allows children to learn how to compare and contrast sizes.

Language Development

• Block play promotes language development in children. As young children play with blocks and begin to identify the sizes, shapes and colors of the materials, they build their vocabulary skills. When they can begin talking about what they are building and how they are playing with the blocks, more complex language skills develop. As their development continues to increase, children can begin interactive dialogue with their peers.

Motor Skills

• Children hone their fine and gross motor skills through block play. When children pick up and pile blocks, they exercise both the small muscles of their hands and the large muscles in their arms, backs, trunks and legs. Development of fine motor skills through block play readies children for writing, as control of the small muscles of the hands and fingers is needed for writing. Building the large muscles of the body is important for healthy physical development.

Social Skills

• Block play encourages healthy social development among children. When groups of children play with blocks together, they learn how to share and work together. While playing with blocks, children can build replicas of objects they see in real life, such as cars and airplanes. Blocks allow children to act out behavior they see in the world and practice using skills that they will need when encountering such situations in the future.

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