It has been said that blocks are the one piece of classroom equipment that is indispensable. Given the fact that playing with blocks easily aids children’s growth in many facets, this assertion is accurate. It encourages growth in areas like spoken language, social and emotional learning, and gross and fine motor skills. It also encourages growth in areas related to STEAM, which is the combination of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Disclaimer: Our team provides educators with classroom-beneficial ideas and products. Even though the items listed below have been chosen based on their superior qualities, each reader should evaluate each product to see whether it will benefit them prior to making a purchase. We believe in recommending the best product to you, but we ask that you choose a product that you think will be most beneficial to “your classroom.” This article contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Additionally, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
To begin with, the development of many core scientific principles that underpin engineering, problem solving, and creative thinking may be facilitated via the use of block play. Children learn fundamental scientific ideas via the process of building and constructing, such as gravity, force, balance, stability, and cause and effect. These concepts are experienced and experimented with by children. Because block play gives kids the ability to engage with a variety of colors, forms, textures, and weights, they are also exploring the physical world as they learn about the characteristics of matter and other things like that. They use all five of their senses in order to get an understanding of the dimensional qualities of the blocks they are working with, whether they are made of wood, foam, or cardboard. Imagine the unintentional lessons that are taught to youngsters when a vehicle is unable to travel up a ramp because the ramp is sitting flat. The youngster learns about the relationship between cause and effect as a result of their activities, as the vehicle is made to roll as a result of the ramp being raised. There isn’t a teacher there to teach you about gravity. Instead, the action itself is the one teaching you.
Children may naturally work their way through the phases of the engineering process by using the ramp as an example. It is possible that we may see youngsters, when playing with blocks, going through sequences that are comparable to those employed by engineers. They could point out an issue or pose a query in their response. In the case of the ramp, they may be wondering how to get a vehicle to go down it or how to get it to go down it more quickly. It’s possible that they need to perform some investigation into the issue by obtaining information about it. It’s possible that we’ll get to watch them experimenting with a variety of vehicles, ramp configurations, and ramp heights. The next step for youngsters would be to speculate on what they think will happen if they make the slope steeper or use a vehicle of a different size. The theory may then be put to the test as a result of this. After that, students may examine the outcomes of experimenting with different ramp heights or vehicle dimensions. Finally, providing a conclusion might take the form of a verbal report that was spoken to a teacher or a picture that was created in their daily diary. Both of these options are valid.
Children may easily include their artistic sensibilities into STEAM activities by putting their imaginations to work by putting together open-ended blocks in a variety of different configurations. It’s possible that they’ll take note of things like colors, forms, patterns, and textures. Making things with blocks is a great way to show your creativity and learn to appreciate the work that goes into making things.
As a kid works with blocks, they have the opportunity to acquire and practice a wide variety of mathematical abilities that are essential to their development. The ability to count, sequence, add, and subtract may help toddlers develop their understanding of numbers while they play with blocks. When youngsters utilize blocks of varying forms, work on spatial arrangements, and make creations with symmetry, they are honing other mathematical abilities such as geometry and their sense of spatial awareness. In the early years, it is necessary to develop measurement abilities, which include comparing size, volume, area, and weight. These are exercises that may easily be done with blocks. Young students may develop their skills in categorization and pattern recognition by identifying similarities and differences among the blocks, sorting the blocks, and creating patterns with the blocks. When it comes to setting the groundwork for eventual mathematical abilities, all of these mathematical interactions with blocks are absolutely necessary. Studies have shown that playing with blocks is essential for subsequent cognitive success in learning arithmetic, numbers, and algebra; as a result, it enables children to do better in math as they go through their schooling.
The only component of STEAM that has not been discussed up to this point is technology. The majority of people think of technologies such as tablets, computers, and smart phones when they hear the word “technology.” However, the real meaning of technology is everything that assists us in doing our jobs. As a result, incorporating technology into children’s block play may be as simple as adding accessories that assist youngsters in constructing solutions to problems they are having. It’s possible to find items such as craft sticks and tape measures, as well as masking tape and wooden spools.
Facilitating the development of STEAM abilities may be as simple as ensuring a well-stocked block area that has a broad selection of open-ended materials. Any educator should be able to easily accomplish the job of providing students with the opportunity, as well as the time and space, to work through challenges while integrating elements of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. So, even if block play is already a popular way to learn in your classroom, you should welcome it as a garden where our future engineers, scientists, and STEAM experts can grow.