Who knew a set of blocks could hold such power? Yet not every parent understands the importance of block play in their children’s development. In fact, working with blocks encourages improvement in intellectual, developmental, physical, social-emotional, and language abilities.
Research even indicates that block play is connected to the successful learning of numbers and math. At Xtreme Gymnastics, we’ve developed our Move-N-Learn curriculum to engage students in a whole variety of block play activities. These are based on the ages of the children to provide a well-rounded program for the little preschoolers with whom we work. Here’s a quick description of a number of our approaches:
- Toddler: We provide the tools and then let the toddlers practice holding and feeling the blocks. They experiment with the toys’ weight as they stack them, bang them together, and more. This facilitates the ability to compare, in addition to boosting self-confidence.
- Age Three: This level of block play involves the early stages of pretend play. Students create castles, zoos, roads, etc., and learn to order, sort, and count. Although this play is often solitary, the students do so alongside one another and with the help of our instructors.
- Ages Four and Five: For this age group, block play is quite exploratory. They collaborate with one another as they engage their imaginations and add people, animals, and vehicles to the activity. This allows them to compound their existing skills, and introduces problem-solving to the mix.
As you can see, in addition to being enjoyable and engaging, block play is an important learning mechanism for early development which we highly recommend for all the kids in our programs. At Xtreme Gymnastics, we use foam blocks, which are available in a multitude of sizes and shapes. Our team members work with the students by first building their own shapes, and then encouraging the children to mimic them. We also ask plenty of open-ended questions to stimulate critical thinking and conversation.