The Importance of Block Play Center play is a fundamental component in all Early Childhood classrooms. One of the most popular centers universally in any classroom is the Block Center. This center ideally takes up a large space in the classroom that allows for children to build structures that can be long and tall. In this center, children should have access to a variety of props and building materials to support imaginary and open-ended play. Typical materials in a block or construction center in our classrooms normally consist of vehicles, toy animals and people, road signs, pieces to construct roads or train tracks, and, of course, blocks. The most popular blocks found in this center are wooden unit blocks. Traditionally made with maple wood, unit blocks allow for open-ended interactions that inherently encourage problem solving and promote the development of math skills.
Did you know that there is actually a developmental progression to block play? So, as you are watching your toddler dumping and moving piles of blocks from one place to the other (over and over and over again), they are actually in the beginning stages of this important developmental progression. To learn more about how children move through the stages of block play, click the link below.
Routinely incorporating different props into this center help to prompt new and imaginative scenarios for children to play out both independently and cooperatively with other children. New materials also provide opportunities to introduce new vocabulary and foster more complex language interactions. Possible additions to this center are endless and you may see your child’s teacher incorporate materials that also promote practice with literacy skills or exploration with science and technology concepts. Other concepts children actively engage in while playing in the Block Center, include:
- cooperation & sharing
- concepts of size
- counting, sorting, & classifying
- spatial relations
- fine motor skills
- cause and effect
Block play is an integral element in an Early Childhood classroom that supports skill development across a variety of learning domains. When children are experimenting and manipulating blocks, they are not only building structures we can see, they are also building important connections in their brains that we don’t see.