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1 minute reading time (240 words)

Block play in our environment!

Over the past couple weeks our Tamariki in Te Whanau Awhina have been very busy constructing thier imagination and masterpiece.  Building with blocks provides one of the most valuable learning experiences available for our young children. Block play stimulates learning in all domains of development, intellectual, physical, and social-emotional and language.

Four and five-year-old children's block play is more experienced, developed, balanced coordinated and organized. Constructive play involves play that is more open- ended and exploratory. Children begin to combine structures to make more complex buildings. Socially, four and five year olds are beginning to share ideas and are starting to cooperate and build with others. They may use block accessories such as people, transportation vehicles, and animals to engage in imaginary/ pretend play. They are learning more complex patterns, classifying, sequencing, counting, fractions and problem solving. Block play shows the opportunity for conceptual understanding in the area of structural engineering as children explore forces of gravity, compression, tension and the relationship between materials and successful design to achieve balance, stability, and even aesthetic sensibility.

Our Tamariki are beginning to notice and explore more 3– dimensional objects such as cones, cylinders, cubes and prisms, (geometry). Science is also being learned through block play as children start making predictions, comparisons, experiment with cause and effect, stability and balance. Their vocabulary is also expanded by block play as they develop an understanding of spatial relations and words such as "under," "over," "off," "bottom," "top," "through," and "beside."