A few years ago I bought some sets of Castle Blocks from Quality Classrooms. Like all the various types of blocks I have they are rotated in and out of our play space depending on the interests of the children in my care.
My current group of children has enjoyed building with these blocks for several weeks now. They particularly like to design and build impressive towers.
I enjoy watching the cooperation when the children agree to work together on a building project;
However, they have encountered a bit of a problem – the baby of the group gets so excited when he sees a tower that he can’t resist knocking it down. He does immediately attempt to help rebuild the towers but the original builders are still very disappointed by the destruction.
One of the solutions that the children have come up with is to only build towers when the baby is not in the room. Although effective, this strategy also severely limits the block building time. Then one day, while the baby was playing in the room, I observed the three-year-old building this;
I asked him to tell me about his creation. He said “It’s a tower – that the baby can’t knock down.” Hmmm, very interesting. These horizontal towers have become quite popular and can be built all day long without any issues.
Nice problem solving 🙂
It was just over two weeks ago that I changed the blocks in the playroom. I put the heavy wooden blocks back into storage and brought out the Duplo blocks. I also put away the big trucks that were in the block area and brought out the coloured baskets.
We’ve used these baskets for sorting colours before and because the Duplo blocks are so brightly coloured I thought the children may be interested in sorting the blocks into the baskets. I place the baskets under the block bin and as I was putting the new blocks in the block bin I sorted them by color above the corresponding basket.
Originally I did it ‘just for fun’. Organizing stuff is ‘my thing’, the little ones are usually more interested in ‘reorganizing’ but I was curious to see how long it would remain like this. It wasn’t until I finished getting everything put away that I realized that if I had put the purple bin and miscellaneous blocks on the left side it would have been the correct rainbow colour order. I just left it that way instead.
The next day when the first children arrived I did ask them to but the blocks away in the ‘correct’ order when they were finished playing with them. These two school-age children are here earlier than the little ones and sometimes they have already left for school before all the preschoolers arrive. I wanted the little ones to have the opportunity to see this particular setup.
Interestingly, two weeks later the blocks still look like this. The younger children don’t tend to take out many blocks at one time and at clean-up time they have been able to put the majority of their blocks in the appropriate section. The older children and I have been moving the occasional mismatched blocks and repairing the blurred lines between the sections.
The older children actually seem to like having the blocks organized. They are the ones who are most particular about colour when they are choosing blocks for their creations. Having the blocks organized by colour means they don’t need to spend so much time searching for the blocks they want.
I’ve also taken this opportunity to get some ‘rainbow’ and colour themed books from the library;
These are our two favourites. There are few words and plenty of pictures to keep the little ones interested. I like the nature themes too;
Can’t wait until there is more colour outside – we’re getting tired of just white and grey and looking forward to rainbows and colour outside as well as inside.
We have many different types of blocks. I can not have them all out at the same time — there simply isn’t enough room. I rotate the various block sets so we have a chance to try them all. The wooden blocks are the most popular.
‘Towers’ are the favorite thing to build. Sometimes it is all about the height;
Sometimes there is more detail;
Often, once we master a new feature we like to include it in all our buildings;
And combine features together;
Until they become more than just a tower — this one is a ‘camera’
This ‘tower’ eventually became a ‘wall’;
And this one is an amazing caslte;
But the towers don’t just get built in the block area. There are some in the housekeeping area too.
And outside where there are exciting new elements available;
But my favourite thing about towers is that they are magnetic. No matter who starts building a tower it will ultimately become a group project. From “Can I help you?” to “Can you pass me that piece?” to “Hey, maybe we can use this.” towers build collaboration and cooperation.