Thursday, March 1, 2012

Adding to Blocks

Everyone has had experience with the humble block. So much can be achieved using this simple, yet effective open-ended resource. However, we can extend this experience by adding all sorts of items to the construction area.

In the past I have added animals, figurines, natural materials such as shells, pebbles and branches. Recently though, I brought in some carpet samples I had given to me by a local carpet store.

As you can see, the children immediately went to work. Initially they used the carpet strips alone.

But soon they had integrated them with the blocks in some interesting ways. First of all it was to make ramps. At which point I also introduces some vehicles.
However, it wasn't long before they were constructing a garage for the vehicles to stay in.
The carpet wasn't all that sturdy, but that didn't stop our intrepid engineers. Just take a look at this masterful piece of ingenuity. Imagine the thought processes involved in working out that placing two strips of carpet on either side would strengthen their integrity and enable them to sustain more weight.
Maths, science, collaboration, problem-solving and even language skills. There's so much going on here. More to the point, both boys and girls were engaged in this worthwhile experience. All I did as a teacher was to provide them with the materials. They did the rest themselves. As a teacher that is often the best thing I can do for them.


  1. You know I enjoy some good block play. This looks like so much fun. I don't have any carpet samples...but now I need some!

  2. Another great addition I've seen somewhere Scott (I think it might have been Lesley Romanoff from the Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School) was lots of chess pieces. Ranging from the basic generic-shaped ones to more elaborately carved ones in the shape of particular characters. I think if you got your handds on a some 2nd hand Star Wars/Lord of the Rings/Narnia type chess sets the results would be amazing.