Curvilinear 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
    • What do the tubes feel like? Are they hard or soft? Do the tubes feel the same as the cubes?
    • Can you tell me about the creation you made? I wonder why you put the tubes in the holes.
    • Can you tell me a story about the turtle and the snail that you made? Are they friends? Where do they live?
  • Mathematical Thinking
    • How many different tube bridges can you make? Can you make more tube bridges than wood beam bridges?
    • How many pieces are in the box? Are there more connectors than cubes?
    • What different shapes can you make with the tubes? With the wood beams?
    • What is the longest structure you can make using all the pieces? Do you think it will reach the end of the room?
    • I wonder if you can make three buildings that are the same height.
  • Physical Knowledge
    • I wonder what would happen if you tried to stack all of the beams on top of your tube bridge. Do you think they would balance? How could you make them more stable?
    • Can you make a structure with moving parts?
    • What is the tallest building you can make, using all the parts, that will not fall down?
  • Aesthetic Ideas
    • Can you find any pictures of buildings in this book that use clear tubing or other transparent material? Can you find some structures that look like the one you made?
    • Do you prefer the buildings that are curved or the ones that have straight sides? What kind of house would you like to live in?
  • Imaginative Play
    • Look at my tube tower. The rain falls down the tubes and fills up my swimming pool. There are a lot of fish in the pool but I like to swim with them.
    • When you turn these tubes round and round and then let go they push all the cars down the ramp. Watch how fast they can go!
    • This is a special telescope where you can see the moon.

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