Space explorer Anousheh Ansari will be visiting Haggard Library on Saturday, November 4 to share her experiences in space. Did you know that you can start your little one on the path to a STEM career with something as simple as block play?
There are 8 major stages of block play, ranging from simply discovering blocks to building complex structures. No matter what level your child is at, playing with blocks introduces tons of STEM concepts that will appear over and over again. Your little one can learn about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and even art just by picking up your favorite blocks or LEGO bricks.
Playing with blocks introduces cause and effect, gravity, and other scientific concepts. What happens when you put a bigger block on top of a smaller block? How can you make your tower even sturdier? While your child stacks and re-stacks blocks to make the perfect tower, hands-on learning reinforces these ideas.
Although blocks aren’t tech-based toys, they do help build the fine and gross motor skills your child needs for manipulating technology in the future. Plus, these are some of the same skills that we use for writing! Building block structures also teaches hand-eye coordination, an essential component of many STEM careers.
Engineering is all about building and design. What better way to learn than by creating your own structures? Playing with blocks lets your child experiment with different designs, and it also gives you a chance to introduce new vocabulary and concepts. While you build your own towers, you can talk about other buildings that you might see in your neighborhood and how they are made. Engineers build models to test their designs and ideas, so your child is learning these concepts early. Plus, building together encourages cooperative play, so your child learns how to collaborate with others.
Building with blocks is open-ended fun that encourages your child to think creatively. You can build anything you imagine, whether it’s a castle or a robot. Or, you can use your blocks to represent something else as part of dramatic play. Any time that your child plays with a toy that doesn’t have just one use, he or she learns that there is more than one way to do things. This teaches divergent problem solving skills – you’re showing by doing that there’s more than one way to solve a problem!
Blocks are a natural bridge for basic math concepts like counting and classification. As you build together, try introducing math vocabulary, like length, or classification ideas, like sorting bricks by color. You’ll help your child develop the background needed to learn math concepts later on. You can use addition and subtraction examples while you’re building, too!
No matter what stage of block play your child is at, the Plano Libraries are here to support your early learning.
Look for building blocks in the children’s play areas, or try building more complicated structures at our LEGO tables. For older kids, we even have books about the cool things you can build. Also, keep an eye out for our LEGO-based programming and other STEAM activities for families, which are listed in our events brochure. Here are some fun building opportunities coming up:
- Library LEGOs Relay at Parr Library: Monday, November 20 at 3 PM
- WeDO Family Freestyle at Harrington Library: Saturday, November 18 at 11 AM and 2 PM
- WeDo Family Freestyle at Parr Library: Sunday, November 26 at 2 PM
- Read! Build! Play! at Harrington Library: Tuesday, December 12 at 10:30 AM