A peek into our Toddler Block Corner
I've been reading Block Play - The Complete Guide and I was super inspired to set up our very own 'block corner'. Since turning two Otto has really got into block play. Previously we had a few blocks in a basket on his work shelves or in a large tray and some outdoor blocks. But having this little block corner really prioritises block play. It also gives him space for large block play.
Blocks are fantastic for building skills like coordination but also for developing concentration, focus, problem solving, spatial awareness, visual perception, creativity, child-led and independent play. Here are a few things on my checklist when putting together our block corner for Otto at 24 months:
- Flat play mat, rug or carpet
- Large wooden tray - for containing and providing a flat surface for small blocks.
- Wooden board - ours is a painting board, this is for small play or to provide an extra flat base for block building.
- Play silks
- Model vehicles - we have siku (small) and bruder (large) including lots of diggers and farm vehicles, these are Otto's favourite for all types of play.
- Model animals
It's important to remember that play areas like this are not static, they are constantly changing, adapting and evolving to suit the child.
A play corner is not a Montessori concept however we can try to adapt this space to our Montessori way of living and learning. How we can bring in some Montessori into the block corner? We can create a space that is:
- Ordered - with a a place for everything
- Child led
- Natural - we use natural materials, as much as possible
- Simple - not overwhelming
- Relevant to the child's stage in development
- Interesting to the child - we can rotate materials to maintain the child's interest
- Owned by the child - the child is able to have ownership over the space and maintain/care for the space
- Comfortable - inviting, warm atmosphere
- Beautiful - as much as possible visually appealing, calls to the child
- Adaptable and flexible - we observe the child in the space and adjust as necessary
- Personalised - suited to the child, type of blocks, number of block and the types and numbers of additional accessories/props.
I would love to have some shelves here to make this area a little more ordered. I have found that toddlers love big block play, Otto goes on to stack this one or two blocks taller than himself.
Ramps and car play.
Some type of categorising and farm play.
Perhaps a peek of the enclosing schema?
A note about blocks - they do not have to be expensive. Brands like Grimm's while beautiful are expensive. The attention you pay to the area and making it just right for the child is more important than providing expensive blocks. Unit blocks are by far my most favoured blocks (ours are in storage and we will see them again in January). But Melissa and Doug make these fantastic Unit Blocks sets which are much more affordable while providing the unit block experience.
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