Today’s blog dis­cuss­es some of the many ben­e­fits of block play in child care. These con­cepts are tak­en from our course Block Play. 

Edu­ca­tors have long rec­og­nized that the block cen­ter is one of the most impor­tant learn­ing cen­ters in an ear­ly child­hood set­ting. Among the many types of blocks to choose from, unit blocks are the most essen­tial. In fact, unit blocks are uni­ver­sal­ly accept­ed as one of the most impor­tant learn­ing tools avail­able for young chil­dren. Among many oth­er ben­e­fits, block play can assist chil­dren with their spa­tial rea­son­ing and awareness. 

Spatial Reasoning and Awareness

Spa­tial rea­son­ing, also referred to as spa­tial aware­ness or spa­tial think­ing, refers to the abil­i­ty to think about objects in three dimensions—to be able to visu­al­ize objects in space, under­stand objects’ spa­tial rela­tion­ships to each oth­er, and men­tal­ly rotate or manip­u­late objects to form new spa­tial rela­tion­ships. This includes a person’s aware­ness of how they inter­act with space. Research has indi­cat­ed that spa­tial rea­son­ing skills cor­re­late with achieve­ment in math­e­mat­ics and strong­ly pre­dict who will pur­sue STEM careers lat­er in life.

As not­ed above, block play in child care set­tings can help chil­dren devel­op spa­tial aware­ness and spa­tial rea­son­ing skills. As chil­dren place blocks in var­i­ous posi­tions, they expe­ri­ence var­i­ous spa­tial con­cepts. For exam­ple, learn­ing to build enclosed spaces and expe­ri­enc­ing the con­cept of an enclo­sure helps chil­dren under­stand the abstract idea of space. Block play pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren to expe­ri­ence and talk about con­cepts relat­ed to an object’s posi­tion in space and the spa­tial rela­tion­ships of objects to each other—for exam­ple, above, under, beside, around, and through.

Problem Solving

Play­ing with blocks fur­ther presents chil­dren with oppor­tu­ni­ties to address chal­lenges and solve prob­lems. When play­ing with blocks, chil­dren build struc­tures over and over again as the struc­tures fall and need to be adjust­ed and redesigned. Chil­dren dis­cov­er that there are mul­ti­ple ways to solve many prob­lems. This process is close­ly relat­ed to real-world engi­neer­ing tasks and pro­vides chil­dren with a foun­da­tion of impor­tant prac­ti­cal skills.

Inter­est­ed in learn­ing more? Take our course Block Play and learn to rec­og­nize the many skills that block play pro­motes. The course cov­ers the stages of block play, how block play encour­ages phys­i­cal, social, and emo­tion­al devel­op­ment, and more. 

Look­ing for more free child care train­ing con­tent? Check out our blog about the impor­tance of relax­ation in The Ben­e­fits of Relax­ation in Child Care.

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