Dwellings 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 would it be like to live in a glass house? What color gels would you like to add to your house?
    • I see that you used all the clear prisms to make your tower. What happens if you put the red, yellow, and blue gels in between the prisms? How does that change your building?
  • Mathematical Thinking
    • How many faces (sides) are on the clear prism?
    • Can you fit all the clear prisms in the little wood tray? Is there more than one way to put them in?
    • Can you see more triangular shapes when you turn the prisms around?
  • Physical Knowledge
    • What happens when the sunlight goes through the clear prism? What do you see? What happens if you turn the prism around? What would happen if you put two prisms together? What happens if there is no sunlight? Will you see anything?
    • What happens when you put the yellow and the blue gels together? The red and the blue gels? The red and the yellow gels?
  • Aesthetic Ideas
    • When I walk around your glass building, I can see some beautiful color reflections. How did you decide where to put the color gels? If you changed them around, would the color reflections change?
    • Let’s see if we can find some pictures of houses designed by architects who used a lot of glass in their designs.
  • Imaginative Play
    • I am going to be an architect so I can make a house like this one but make it really big so I can live in it. When I wake up in the morning, all the colors will swirl on my walls.
    • This is a house for a rainbow fish. He has to live in a house with beautiful colors just like he has on his scales.

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