So much conversation happens around simple things like playing with blocks. And so much learning too! Blocks are not just building materials..they teach patience and perseverance, push kids to imagine, plan and execute…they are an introduction to basic physics and math.
I saw so much of this playing out a couple of days ago when the three boys were playing with their Lego blocks. Amu was trying to make the tallest possible structure he could. He kept adding to his tower of blocks and then tried to walk with his completed structure only to watch it topple over. “it’s too big amu!” said Sid a few times to his baby brother. Amu tried again and again, persistent in his efforts to create his own colourful high-rise. His look of triumph when he finally made it upto the chair i was sitting on with the building breaking was worth a million words. “Look so big! Amu make big building!” he announced proudly incase i hadn’t noticed!
Nish was trying something different. Using the duplo blocks he was trying to make a truck. He made a really fancy looking one but when he placed it down on the ground it toppled over backwards. His acceptance of the fate of his blocks was not quite as sporting as Amu’s and he got really upset. Sid was once again quick to jump in “Look the back it too much!” he said. “make it less”. He was right…Nish had got so carried away with building his fancy truck that he had put quite a few blocks on the rear of the “truck” making it lopsided in how the weight was distributed. With a little help from Sid, Nish restarted on his ‘vehicle’ and soon they had a modified truck that balanced quite well. It was really nice to see the thinking and use of logic and common sense as the boys worked with their Lego blocks!
I also introduced the boys (the twins not Amu) to tangram yesterday and they absolutely loved the concept. Using simple shapes (squares, triangles, diamonds, circles, rectangles and semi circles) i had them make composite shapes (we used ready templates but i am sure that with a little thought one can create templates to use with these shapes). We got through about 16 templates, each one a little harder than the earlier one. I had expected the boys to get bored or give up but they enjoyed the challenge and have already decided they want to do more! (for more ideas visit http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/tangrams)
It is good to see how many things something as simple as blocks end up facilitating…so far we had negotiations, sharing, patterns, role play and imaginary play and now we have planning, ideation, discussion and logic with blocks! (and it keeps my little monkeys occupied for a good 45 minutes or so at least if i am lucky!)