Color & Form Blocks Suggestions for Use

To understand children’s learning with open-ended materials, it is often useful to step back and observe their spontaneous play and problem solving. Children use blocks in a variety of ways:

  • To create designs – arrangements with no particular function.
  • To build functional structures – things that move, shelters, and enclosures.
  • To build representations of real objects – sailboats, animals, and people.
  • To rearrange patterns – recombining a given set of blocks into different arrangements.
  • To act out narratives – using the blocks to tell a story.
  • To encounter and solve problems

Children will almost always start building on their own and may often build for long periods of time with great concentration. We have included some suggestions for use to further stimulate their ideas. However, we encourage parents and teachers to let children take the lead.

  • Language Development
    • I see you are building a long structure with a big tower on the end. Can you tell me about it? Who lives in the tower?
    • Can you tell me a story about the blue triangular prism, the red cylinder, and the yellow cube? Are they friends?
  • Mathematical Thinking
    • What different shapes do you see? What different shapes do you see on the faces of each block?
    • Can each shape fit into any of the little trays? What does that tell you about the size of the blocks?
    • I see you have started a pattern with the blocks: red, yellow, red, yellow. What would come next?
    • Can you make a symmetrical design?
  • Physical Knowledge
    • What is the highest tower you can make using all the pieces?
    • Which blocks are easiest to stack? Why?
    • Can you find a way to make the little trays roll?
  • Aesthetic Ideas
    • Which of the colors do you think should go with which forms? Color in your choice. What is the reason for your choice? [See accompanying booklet.]
  • Imaginative Play
    • I made a room with chairs and a bed and tables. It is a good place for mice to live in.
    • This is a lady with a red hat and a blue shirt and this is a man with a blue hat and a yellow shirt. They live in this wood house with lots of boxes.
    • Here is my house and a very tall tower in the middle. You can see the ocean from the top of the tower and sometimes a whale.

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