Blocks can go beyond building

 
Building with blocks encourages kids to think critically and creatively

By Shelby Moore

Teacher

Shelby Moore is a kindergarten teacher at an inner-city school in Houston and was recently awarded as one of the East Region's Campus Teachers of the Year.

We all know that building with wooden blocks in preschool and kindergarten is a typical pastime for children who are four, five, and six. Not only do the kids enjoy using and manipulating the blocks to create tall towers and small cities, but building with blocks also encourages kids to think critically and creatively.

In my classroom we have foam blocks as a safety measure, but the educational value still remains. The block center is one of the activities the children can choose when working in our Creation Station Work Center. I'm sure many of you have blocks at home that clutter up the floor in your child's room, but don't worry they do so much more than just make a mess!

In addition to using the blocks for building, here are some other educational ways my students use blocks:

Materials needed:

  • Blocks (cubes only)
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Writing utensil
  • Paper

*If you don't want to have to tape the pieces of paper onto the blocks, there are a few companies that make cubes with clear pockets so you can just insert your own letter or picture cards. I use the cubes from Carson Dellosa for convenience; however, I found a cheaper set called Stack-Smile Photo Blocks on Amazon.com.

Words with blends game

Pull out blocks that are in the shape of cubes from your set of blocks. Next, cut the paper so it is the same size as the faces on the cube. Then, tape the papers to the side of the cube and use your writing utensil to write blends on each of the six sides of the block. Here are some common beginning blends your child should be learning as a kindergartner: dr, st, bl, cr, sl, ch, th, sh, tr, pr, gr, sw, fr, fl. Roll the cube and watch and see which blend the cube lands on. Read the blend and try to think of a word that starts with that blend.