block play

March & Play to a Different Beat: Respect Differences in How Children Play

Kids, like adults, can march to a different beat, and play to a different one too; it’s important to respect differences in how children play.respect differences in how children play

Play is not the same for all children. Parents only need to have two kids to see the tremendous differences there can be from one child to the other. While all children love to move, some are far more active than others. These kids seem to be constantly on the run, jump, or hop. Some children talk far earlier than others. During their play, kids kids talk to the stuffies and toys and pretend to be their voices. Favorite toys might be a pretend telephone, or a real one whenever they see it around! Hands-on is the interaction of choice for many children. Blocks and construction toys of all sorts lurk on the floor for unsuspecting adult feet. In this case, it’s not marching to a different beat but limping.block and construction play

While there may be some general similarities for the ways girls play as opposed to the ways boys play, there are vast differences for children of the same gender. Many girls engage in building with blocks, rough-housing, and zooming cars and trains around a track. By the same token, many boys will play with dolls and kitchens. Just as many boys as girls have baby brothers and sisters, so caring for younger family members is common for both. Girls and boys can snuggle a doll, take it for a walk in the stroller, give it a bottle, and tell it not to cry. These are natural activities and show how we care for each other. Boys can ask for an easy-bake-oven and girls can want a science kit.boy playing dolls gender equality

When we respect differences in how children play we are respecting children themselves. Kids can march to a different beat in what they want to eat, how they dress, the books they like, and the way they play. How will your child choose to play today?


Construction Play with Blocks and Other Building Toys

Is there space at your house for construction play with blocks and other building toys? Your child can be a Christmas elf and play in his/her own workshop. Here’s part of a previous post on a block and building play-of-the-day:

There’s a wonderful variety of construction toys using plastic, like Lego and Lasy; wood as in blocks; metal, both new and vintage; and even sturdy paper and cardboard. Some construction sets are specialized for machines, race car tracks, trains, houses, marble runs, creatures, and robots. Just as varied are the kinds of fun and learning. When kids play with these toys they are:

  • developing kindergarten readinessmanipulating, connecting, stacking, balancing, etc. This strengthens the small muscles in hands and fingers and gives children the opportunity to develop eye-hand coordination.
  • visualizing, that is making pictures in the mind. As an adult, have you ever had to look at an object and then had to choose from 3 or 4 pictures what it would look like from the other side? This is quite a challenge and this skill develops from lots of experiences and play.
  • exploring space and measuring. Blocks of some sizes might fit in a space but some will be too big or too small.
  • developing kindergarten readinesscounting and making groups, matching sizes and shapes. These are early math skills.
  • creating and imagining. These are powerful skills, at the very heart of innovation, that begin when kids play.
  • solving-problems, organizing and planning. We often consider these as “work” skills but, to kids, they are fun and part of play.

developing kindergarten readinessWhen children play with these toys together, they practice negotiating, cooperating and other social skills. Kids are using language to express themselves, explain, and ask questions. Both boys AND girls enjoy playing with these toys!! Ordinary household items, like sponges and plastic food containers, can be construction toys. Check the recycling.

Sometimes, during the holiday season, friends and relatives come for a visit. Blocks and construction toys are a great activity for kids of various ages, along with aunts, uncles, and other adults too. For a great play-of-the-day, how about some construction play with blocks and other building toys?

Fun Bus Activities #4: Block Construction Play

The wheels on the bus go round and round but instead of people going up and down, this time blocks do when kids engage in block construction play. Blocks are a versatile toy enjoyed by very young toddlers and much older ones. Many block sets are made of wood, but they also are available in plastic, foam, cardboard, and rubber. Sizes, shapes, and colors all vary. Whatever kids have, blocks have tremendous play value.

building with blocks

For a play-of-the-day, after reading a Wheels on the Bus book and singing the song, the kids got out a bin of blocks and started to play. Big Sister set up some bridges for a road to go under. Little Sister checked out the other items in the bin.

block and train play

To make a bus or other vehicle that moves, wheels are needed. Duplo has large bricks with wheels attached and some pieces marked with a line down the middle for roads. Some people and animals are riding this one.block construction play Lego

Some Lego pieces have wheels too for making all kinds of vehicles. Building with small pieces exercises the small muscles in the hands and fingers. Because fine motor control is still developing at this age, manipulating blocks and other toys is challenging. Strengthening these skills is important for learning to print.

empty box play

For block construction play on a really big scale, bring home a large cardboard box. It doesn’t have to be as big as a real bus, but it might feel like it is to a child. Or, it might be a whole town with buses like the ones in this video.

Construction play, no matter what kids create, involves a great deal of higher-order thinking skills. The most obvious one is figuring out cause and effect. When kids build towers only to knock them over, they are exploring over and over what happens when they push. It works every time and when the tower falls, it’s pretty exciting. Kids are also solving problems. There is so much to discover as they build. Imagination is another part of the play. Where will the bus go? What will happen on the bus?

Ordinary events like seeing or riding a bus can inspire play and deliver extraordinary fun and learning. Ready to ride?


Before I Go to Kindergarten #14: Children’s Independent Play with Toys

Are you wondering how the item: children’s independent play with toys can be a ‘requirement’ for kindergarten? How kids play gives developmental clues. Play on the outside reflects what’s happening inside physically, mentally, and emotionally. Let’s watch kids playing with puzzles. When kids first start playing with puzzles, they need large pieces made of wood, … Continue reading Before I Go to Kindergarten #14: Children’s Independent Play with Toys

Playing with Blocks for Holiday Fun

With so much technology, it’s easy to forget simple toys like blocks. Playing with blocks can range from simple to complex and it’s powered by imagination. Imaginations are surrounded with holiday magic. What might Santa’s workshop look like? Kids might like to use their blocks and other construction toys to make their own Toyland or … Continue reading Playing with Blocks for Holiday Fun

Art Play with Blocks and Construction Toys

Can Kids Do Art with Blocks and Toys? Paper and crayons or paint aren’t the only way for kids to make art; art play with blocks and construction toys happens even when adults don’t notice. Kids themselves may discover that they have created wonderful art as they play with blocks, Lego, and other construction toys. … Continue reading Art Play with Blocks and Construction Toys

March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #3

Thee Little Pigs Inspire Play-of-the-Day Once you have read a book with your child, don’t stop there. It’s just a start to the fun. How about some building along with the Three Little Pigs? The Three Little Pigs is a fairly common story, but you might not have a book of it at home. If … Continue reading March into Fun with Books, Stories, and Activities #3

Helping Children Learn to Play Series: #3 Blocks

Helping Children Learn to Play with Blocks and Construction Toys Play is a powerful method of learning for young children and we can support them as they explore how to play with blocks and construction toys. Yes, play is natural; even animals will play. However, we can build on what happens naturally by helping kids … Continue reading Helping Children Learn to Play Series: #3 Blocks