Learning Centers

Blocks

Blocks, especially hardwood unit blocks, are standard equipment in a Creative Curriculum classroom. Wooden blocks naturally appeal to young children because they feel good to the touch, are symmetrical, and invite open-ended explorations. When children construct, create, and represent their experiences with blocks, they grow in each area of development.

Literacy: Literacy expands children’s vocabulary and language by talking about their buildings. Introduce new words (e.g., front-end loader, cylinder, arch) as they use blocks and props. Invite children to talk about their work (e.g., “Tell me about your building.” “Where do your cars go when they run out of gas?”).

Math: Teach number concepts by suggesting that children put away blocks in sets (“Everyone take three blocks at a time to put away”). Ask number questions (“How many square blocks would you need to make one as long as this double-unit block?” “How could you divide up the ramps so each of you has the same number?”).

  • Math Expansion – Nurture children’s interest in measurement by offering materials such as string and rulers so children can measure their buildings.

Life Science: Expand children’s knowledge of life science by adding plastic or wooden animals so children can build animal homes such as farms, zoos, caves, or cages. Provide artificial plants and flowers to encourage children to create different animal habitats.

  • Earth and Environmental Science: Promote understanding of the earth and environment by providing telephone wires and pipes as props for building and talking about how electricity and water get into buildings. Include natural materials such as rocks, acorns, shells, pinecones, and twigs to use in buildings.

Social Studies: Encourage learning about spaces and geography by talking about roads children are making and where they go. Display maps and help children to figure out how to reproduce their neighborhood with blocks. Explore concepts related to people and how they live by learning about different stores and jobs in the neighborhood. Provide props that show people engaged in a range of jobs. Display books and pictures about how people live and work and talk with children about them.

The Arts: Promote drama skills by encouraging children to use block structures as the setting for dramatic play. Provide props such as hats, empty food containers, or a steering wheel to use with hollow blocks. Nurture the visual arts by allowing time for children to create original designs and structures with blocks. Suggest that children draw pictures of their structures as a way of preserving them.