Framebuilder 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
    • Can you tell me about the colors on each floor of your tall building? What do you see if you look at the building from the back? Does it look the same?
    • Can you tell me how you kept all the pieces together?
    • I wonder where you can go on the long road that you built. Can motorcycles go on the road? Are there any bridges or tunnels?
  • Mathematical Thinking
    • I see that you made some squares. What other shapes can you make with the pieces of the Framebuilder? Is it possible to make a circular building?
    • Can you make a pentagon?
    • Can you make a building that starts with the biggest square and ends up with the smallest square?
    • How many triangular structures can you make using all the pieces?
  • Physical Knowledge
    • What is the most stable building you can make that uses all the blocks? What makes it so stable? Can you blow it down?
    • Can you make a stable building without connecting the pieces?
  • Aesthetic Ideas
    • Let’s look at some books on modern sculpture and see if we can find some creations like the ones you made. How are they the same? What materials did the sculptor use? What other materials would you like to add to your creation?
  • Imaginative Play
    • Look at my house inside a house inside a house inside a house inside a house. It has secret parts but you can’t see them.
    • This is a triangle hat that I can wear. It is full of colors and very high. It makes me look like a giant princess.

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