Literacy Spot #12: Literacy in the Block Corner

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?

What is Childhood 101′s Literacy Spot? It is a weekly reminder of the importance of young children learning playfully as each week I share one idea for playing around with literacy, taken from my many years working as an early childhood teacher. Visit the previous Literacy Spot posts for more fun ideas for playing with literacy.

Related Posts

{Image source}

Get every post via email Get the monthly newsletter


  1. I really like your idea of taking photos of your child building a structure and then have them use the photos to put them in the correct sequence.

    This week we have been using our newly decorated autumn window – which I worte about in the following link:
    – to find poems about bugs and insects that we have been finding in our garden. We have also been observing some insects and recording some basic characterisitcs about them.

    Recently, I created some general writing activities that complement children’s story books. The link for these activities which can be downloaded is:

    I’m really looking forward to popping back here to see what other ideas people have to share.

  2. I really like this post Chritie. My kids both love blocks – wooden blocks and duplo, but they use them in very different ways that reflect their interests. Oesch builds garages, towers, carparks and Doots’ builds penguins (with duplo) or ships. She also uses the wooden blocks to make big 2 dimensional pictures on the floor. That said, they also enjoy all sorts of other activities so I don’t have to get them out of the ‘block corner’ lol.

    I love the idea of documenting the way something has been built. It probably appeals to me because of my professional background, but thinking about the steps you take to achieve something must be useful I think, like the concept of following a recipe.

    I didn’t really understand the link with literacy though, but I wonder if it’s about documenting something in order, in the same way that a story has a beginning, middle and end?

  3. After loooong time my Hana took her colors out and draw! And play doh too! And last few days we started to play domino,so was pretty occupied this weekend.Those are grat ideas to make her draw,I’ll try! Tnx for sharing!

  4. Excellent post. Great ideas.


  1. […] learn a lot from these simple toys. What exactly?Childhood 101 goes into some specifics of adding literacy to the block corner, and Picklebums gives us a little insight on why block play is so important to kids.And I’ve […]

  2. […] Literacy in the Block Corner from Childhood 101 […]

Leave a Comment