Playing with blocks is a great way to encourage your child’s imagination and critical thinking skills! Did you know that it is also helping to prepare your child to read?
Play is one of the five elements of Every Child Ready to Read program. Block play helps children to grow their fine and gross motor skills, while also encouraging their creativity and critical thinking skills. When children are building skyscrapers in their pretend city or exploring the depths of the ocean in their “block submarine”, they are using their imagination to build new worlds and discovering new ways to interact with their environment.
By following along with our rhymes and songs, children can learn how the rhythms and sounds of language combine and interact to form sounds and words. Clap out syllables with your blocks and try introducing longer and more descriptive vocabulary to describe what you’re making or playing with.
Through the building challenges children can sort their blocks by color, shape, and size. These sorting skills can help children in many other areas such as letter recognition when they are learning how to read by identifying similar letters in new words. Not only does block play help with their language development, but it also helps strengthen their gross motor skills as they construct tall towers and then knock them down. Their fine motor skills are also being developed as they focus on their dexterity to balance blocks on the top of their buildings, using techniques that will come in handy later when they begin to write.
You can also play with your blocks as you read! Build what you see happening in your stories, clap out the syllables for new words, and explore new ways to have fun!
Here are a few titles you can check out from the library to go along with Block Party:
Castles, Caves, and Honeycombs by Linda Ashman
Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building by Christy Hale
Block City by Robert Louis Stevenson and Dawn Heston