Support and Advice from TNPC's Parenting Experts

Plain wooden blocks may be one of the best learning tools for a young child three to seven. their simplicity lends themselves very well to a multiplicity of uses. A child can use wooden blocks to make houses, cars, castles, ranches, robots, or anything else his imagination may dictate. World famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said it was his experience with wooden blocks as a child that opened him up to his talents and abilities as a designer. Your child may not become another Frank Lloyd Wright, but free unstructured play with wooden blocks can help develop sensory-motor skills, problem-solving abilities, imaginative capacities, and emotional and social interaction when building with other kids. Experts suggest starting your three year old out with a few simple shapes such as unit blocks, squares, and pillars. then, as the child gets older, blocks of more varied dimensions can be added to to collection. Prices of standard unit blocks vary from $.90 for the smallest unit to $4.30 for the largest ones, and a quality starter collection might cost anywhere from $36 to $200 depending upon the number of blocks in the collection (cheaper ones using poorer quality wood are available at large discount toy stores). Set some basic rules for block play (e.g. no throwing them at people) but beyond that, let your child alone to enjoy this wonderful experience of “world making,” knowing that as she plays, she’s also learning a great deal about how the world works.

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is an award-winning author and speaker with twenty-eight years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level, and over one million copies of his books in print on issues related to learning and human development. He is the author of nine books including Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into sixteen languages, including Spanish, Chinese, Hebrew, Danish, and Russian.


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