I have spoken before about children having natural preferences for one type of play. Like Immy who turns everything play related into an imaginative game. I have also mentioned that as parents and educators we can extend our child’s play beyond that which they already know and love, you may remember this quote which I have previously shared:
“The ‘educator’ has a responsibility to move the child from what is comfortable to new areas of investigation. A child can’t stay in the block corner forever.”
But how do we move our child from one form of play to another? I am hopeful that sharing a few ways that literacy can be added to block play will help to answer this question.
- Add a clipboard stocked with some paper, a lead pencil and an eraser to your block building mat or table. Once your child has completed their building ask if they would like to draw what they have made so that they can make the same again another time.
- Take photographs as your child builds a structure (this is particularly good for complex lego constructions). Print out the photos and have your child put them in order from start to finish. Make a simple book or display panel, sticking the photos in order and transcribe your child’s description of the process they used to make their structure.
- Look at what it is your child likes to build and then think about ways of introducing early reading and writing related elements into the play. For example, if your child is always recreating a pirate’s treasure island then suggest making treasure maps together. Or if they like to build rocket ships you could draw/write a list of what the astronauts will need to take to the moon and then have fun making or collecting those items to use in future play.
- Visit your local library to find books or magazines which support your child’s interest in building. Think about what it is about blocks and building that they most enjoy and look for resources to support their interest, for example, you could find books with inspiring photos of different architectural projects or books showing processes for making things from wood or paper.
These are all simple ways to add elements of literacy to block play. By looking for ways of introducing new resources and ideas into your child’s play which are based on their existing interests and ideas you expand the possibilities for playful learning. And this has to be a good thing
What playful literacy learning has your child been enjoying this week?
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- Why Our Children Need to Learn How to Think, Not What to Think
- Following Children’s Interests