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The 100 – The Definitive Guide to Block Play: the Benefits and the Pleasures

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The 100 is a game that has been popularized by the hit TV show, The 100. It’s a card game where you compete to see who can be the last person standing. This guide will take you through all of the benefits and pleasures that come with playing this game.

The 100 toys guide to independent play is a book that aims to help parents and caregivers understand the benefits of independent play.

Is there a toy that is more enjoyable than a basic block?

Reach for the blocks whether you need a castle or a cave, a home or a road. Is there anything else that thrills both infants and preschoolers as much as this?

Blocks are everywhere, from a baby’s first efforts to grip and move things to a schoolchild’s vast creations.

Contents:

Blocks can speak. They can express ideas.

Block play is a kind of communication.

Block play is a sign system, much like writing, painting, and dancing. It may be used to express yourself. Is there a method to mime or paint an image to communicate the concept of ‘moving up,’ ‘radiating,’ or ‘next to’? Yes, you certainly can. You can also do it using blocks. Block play is a language that may be learned with practice.

Block play has a grammar. There are set combinations you can use to make larger structures.

Prior to the start of block play

Long before your kid begins to build with blocks, she must first master the skills necessary to use them.

A six-month-old is learning to grasp for things for the first time as she sits at her prize basket for the first time. She grabs and rattles things, bites and bashes them. She learns to drop, pile, arrange, and finally stack items.

She is just now, around her first birthday, ready to start building with blocks.

We can think with objects, positioning them in an attempt to map out our thinking

As ‘thinking objects,’ blocks are useful.

Young children learn through engaging with their surroundings, investigating and testing objects and their characteristics. They learn to internalize the ideas as they get older. They start by rotating a puzzle piece and testing all of the possible combinations until it fits. Then they realize they can spin it in their heads without having to move the physical piece. As adults, we understand that rotation may refer to a variety of things, from a rota to empty the staffroom dishwasher to the seasons changing.

However, it all starts with a simple item in your child’s hand.

Here are some of the ideas taught via block play:

  • Translation, rotation, and reflection are examples of spatial transformations that are equivalent (see image below)
  • Visual cohesion
  • Integrity of the structure
  • Physical equilibrium
  • Design of the stage (i.e. creating settings for small world play)

Spatial transformations in block play

 

How do kids learn to build with blocks?

In block play, there is a straightforward sequence. Children go through the following phases from the age of 12 months to approximately five years:

  1. A tangled pile of blocks is added to. There is no effort to construct a unified whole, either distinct or linked.
  2. The creation of simple one-dimensional forms (lines). They may be vertical or horizontal.
  3. There are two-dimensional structures visible. These may be ‘areal,’ meaning they are grouped together vertically or horizontally. They may also be used to create enclosures, such as castle walls and doors.
  4. Finally, space is engulfed by the discovery of three-dimensional forms.

1-D linear block play

Children’s first ‘real’ block play includes lining up the pieces in a line, whether vertically stacked or horizontally laid out. They learn to connect two pieces together by matching them face to face. They’re experimenting with linking blocks.

 

2-D areal block play

Then there are walls and floors, which are made out of blocks that have been pressed together with no room between them. There isn’t any effort to make anything unique. Your kid is attempting to master the form.

2-D enclosures in block play

This is when block play begins to take on a life of its own. If you read the article on schema play, you know that young toddlers explore important ideas again and over again. One such concept is that we can construct enclosures to confine things (even if it’s simply empty space): a zoo wall, a lake’s coast, or a building’s entrance.

These ideas are unique in that they may be applied to all areas of learning. Make a moat for your sandcastle on the beach, and you’ll quickly see how essential it is to keep enclosures free of gaps. The water will drain completely. Similarly, if gap between the pieces enables the besieging army to march through, your made-of-blocks castle wall is worthless. Later on, this transfers to pen and paper labor. If the letter ‘o’ is not enclosed, it becomes a ‘u’ or a ‘c’.

 

Extending enclosures in block play

Bridges and aqueducts are made by extending enclosures horizontally, while structures are made by extending enclosures vertically.

3-D volumetric block constructions

The last stage of block play, in which everything that has gone before is combined into a three-dimensional piece. That might be a basic 3-D mass like the one seen above, or a far more complex building like Rome’s Colosseum. Internal space is created using arches and more sophisticated building methods.

Using blocks to solve problems

How to support a lintel in block play

When you start with only one upright and attempt to place the lintel over before placing the second upright, how do you keep the arch from collapsing? You don’t, is the answer. The second upright, on the other hand, is unlikely to be your child’s initial answer to the issue. She’ll most likely use additional bricks to hold up the lintel, allowing her hands to place the last piece. She will only realize afterwards that the most beautiful way is to begin with the uprights and then add the lintel. But, oh, how much has been learned in the meantime!

N.B. Avoid interfering in these conflicts, even if you think you can ‘fix’ the situation with a single word or deed. The exploration is the only way to reap the benefits.

Supporting boards with blocks

Another difficulty is quickly constructing barriers out of planks. How do you get them to remain up? A typical approach is to buttress the foundation using blocks.

Building with boards

Another approach to support a wall is to balance three boards side-by-side, but this method is a little riskier.

Building self-supporting steps with blocks

 

How do you construct a stairwell? This is a true test of engineering ability, and you won’t be able to solve it until you’ve spent a significant amount of time learning the complexities of constructing using KAPLA at a much older age. For the time being, the preschooler will have to make do with the’stepped pyramid’ design.

Using negative space to choose blocks

Negative space, such as when a section of your building is destroyed, may be a valuable source of information. Do you have the components to complete this puzzle? Which one is the most appropriate? Which one is the most visually pleasing?

Having fewer blocks forces you to be more creative

Constraints are advantageous.

Have you ever attempted to work without all of the tools you believed you required? What did you think of the outcome? When we are restricted in our resources, we become more creative, which frequently results in a better result than if we had limitless resources.

Take, for example, Kapla blocks.

You’re forced to think through design problems since there’s just one kind of block accessible. When you just have cubes, how do you construct an arch? When you just have thin boards, how can you construct a sturdy structure? Rather than being able to reach for the perfect block, you’ll have to think outside the box.

How do you choose a set of blocks?

What qualities do you want in a collection of blocks? Is one set sufficient?

In the 100 Toys home, blocks are the most popular toy. I appear to have acquired quite a collection for someone who believes in having fewer toys. Their popularity stems from their adaptability. They grow with the kid, gradually exposing their secrets through time. If you’ve ever taken a KAPLA challenge, you know that even adults can learn a lot.

There’s nothing more frustrating than running out of figures, play-dough, or bricks before you’ve finished your masterpiece. So, up to a degree, the more blocks, the better.

But how many bricks are sufficient? A basic set of cubes is more than enough for a newborn or early toddler. Children are just learning to grasp, drop, and stack the blocks at this age. There will be some basic stacking, but nothing too difficult.

Preschoolers, on the other hand, have quite different requirements. They’re learning how to build complex structures like doors and windows. Simple cubes are no longer sufficient. Longer, flatter pieces that function as lintels, bridges, and ramps would be ideal additions to the set. It’s difficult to fit everything into one set. However, there’s no need to purchase the whole collection. In the case of Grimm’s, the gigantic or basic building kits, when combined with the building boards, provide a lot of fun. You might add a third set when your kid’s constructions became larger (for example, Grimm’s Shapes & Colors), but for a block-obsessed youngster, that’s three sets in five years. If we run out of construction materials in our home, we make up the difference with books or board-game boxes. Quick, simple, and easily accessible.

Choose enough blocks to make a complete structure

The open-ended toys for 7 month old is a book that provides information on the benefits and pleasures of block play.

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