I have already spoken to you on more than one occasion about the construction game, how to favor it , why it is important … and it is a game that, beyond being enjoyed, has a lot of depth. I mean that through block play children are practicing a lot of skills and resources, even if that is not the goal of the game.
I am not at all in favor of offering small game materials in which there is the only intention behind them to learn. I feel that children learn by playing, that they spontaneously ask themselves questions and draw amazing conclusions that allow them to advance in their thoughts and conclusions.
I think that if a material has the sole objective of learning a skill … it is not really a toy, but a teaching material, which may be very good, of course, but it is not a game material.
But the blocks are, for me, a great game element that, indirectly, as I said, allows you to learn a lot of things. But always through play, so that pleasure is present at all times .
Playing with blocks, children develop skills that will later be needed in different areas of science, such as technology, engineering or mathematics
Surely if I ask you to visualize games and construction proposals, the typical wooden blocks or plastic materials such as duplo or lego will come to mind. That is why today I want to talk to you about something different, proposals to play constructions in a big way, since they offer other possibilities and benefits different from smaller materials and they are also great to promote spatial thinking, as I will explain later
Do you want to continue discovering the benefits of great building materials? Well let’s go!
6 BENEFITS AND POSSIBILITIES OF USING LARGE BUILDING BLOCKS
1. They attract children who do not enjoy the most painstaking work.
Many times I have heard phrases like “such a child does not like to build or never plays with blocks”, and so on. But perhaps it is not that he does not like to build but that he does not enjoy work that involves more fine motor skills or details and, instead, is a more motor and expansive child who would be delighted to build much bigger things.
2. Emotional benefits and improved self-confidence
Being able to do great constructions makes children feel very valid and powerful.
Have you seen what tallest tower I have made, even taller than me? Therefore, light materials such as the Gigi blocks that I will present to you later are great. They are made of cardboard, very light, but large and the little ones feel capable and strong, reinforcing their self-esteem and personal image.
A couple of weeks ago, for example, my nephew picked up a huge box from the dining room and carried it around. You should have seen his face and his laugh… He was telling us… Have you seen what I am capable of? It was a precious moment that I think perfectly illustrates what I am telling you.
3. Physical benefits and gross motor development
Linked with the previous point, playing with larger construction materials allows the child to move his whole body in this game. To get to build in the highest part you have to stretch well, pull your arms up to continue placing pieces …
Or find a stool and climb on it to get to the top. As you can see, movement and more movement.
4. Enrich the role play
Larger materials allow you to create a lot of things with a specific purpose. The children will be able to make their own playhouses, their hiding places, cars … and they will be able to elaborate the elements that will enrich their role play, their symbolic game.
And by building all these elements they will be, at the same time, benefiting from the construction game and working on the conception of the space that I will now talk about.
5. Promotes mathematical thinking and spatial reasoning.
We often associate mathematics with the algebra part … but mathematics also includes all the part of spatial thinking, which is one that allows mental representations of objects in space, their relationships … the ability to represent them in a way material. That is, to be able to capture what we see or think in a drawing or through materials, such as with building blocks. Relate how the blocks fit together, how to align them, etc. It also helps the little ones to develop their spatial thinking.
In addition, playing with large building blocks, the children will have to visualize the whole room as a whole to find the best space, make sure that the construction fits … and that afterwards it is possible to play with it, of course. So this idea of working on spatial reasoning is reinforced.
6. Development of cooperative play and promotion of social skills
The construction of large elements favors cooperative play, even more so if we consider that they can create elements that enrich their adventures. In this way, the children will have to agree on what to build, how … How will we build the tower? How tall did it have to be? What is the best way to do it? Where?
And if everyone wants their own construction… How many pieces can we each use? They will also have to express themselves, talk and negotiate to distribute the material.
Of course, this option is always possible if there are several children. If at any given moment there is only one child, then he will have all the material for himself and he will be able to do whatever vibrates with him at that moment, but I have observed at home that when friends come to play, the large construction pieces are even more fun and they give more game, never better said.
IDEAS AND MATERIALS TO BUILD BIG
If I have encouraged you to build in a big way … I would like to tell you about 3 materials that I think are great and that give a lot of themselves. In addition, they are very different proposals from each other, so you will surely find the one that best suits your circumstances and space.
1. GIGI BLOKS XXL
This material is one of my favorites. We have had him at home for a couple of years and I can’t even tell you how much he has played.
It consists of cardboard blocks and they have two different sizes: 10x10x10cm and 20x10x10cm, which means that the small ones are just half the size of the large ones (ideal for indirectly incorporating fractions, numbering …)
The blocks fit together and allow all kinds of very stable and solid constructions.
What the little one usually creates are little houses for their games, but I have also seen cars, washing machines, shops, walls, stages … In fact, it is usual that what they are living at a specific moment is later reproduced with their cardboard blocks.
Another strong point of the Gigi bloks is that they are cardboard colored, a natural color that gives space to imagine anything. As they are not very defined colors, it is possible to imagine multiple things with them. And if you need to customize any … you can paint and draw them.
Something that worried me was how to store them when not in use, but over time we have found our best option. We make tall columns and place them in a corner that has little traffic.
You can also make a wall and attach it to the wall. It will hardly take up space.
And finally … you can always leave a useful structure mounted. Type some square in which to store things or materials inside, etc. Each one, whatever they feel works best with their space or home.
If you like this material in Jugaia you will find the entire range of Gigi bloks . I recommend you have at least 60 pieces, to have material to create good structures. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to build and not having stock of bricks, hehe.
Trigons is another amazing material that allows for big builds.
It consists of some pieces of cloth and some wooden sticks that, joined by means of wooden connectors, will give shape to an endless number of structures, which will enrich the symbolic game. The creations will be big and strong so the game inside is assured.
But it is also a game that helps to understand mathematical concepts, such as symmetry, geometry. How many triangles or rectangles have arisen with our construction?
It is a great game for children from 4 years of age or so and I would not dare to set an age limit because the truth is that even I still love it, hehe.
If you like Trígonos here you can find it and in this other link you can discover other interesting construction games .
3. CUSHIONS AND FOAM BRICKS
Finally, I want to talk about something that is very obvious but that always gives a lot of spontaneous creations and that is the use of cushions and mats to build.
At home it is common to see cushions attached to the sofa to create something. We have normal cushions and some stiffer ones, recycled from an old sofa.
In the shared education space we also have a lot of mattresses and cushions that are often converted into little houses, airplanes (which usually go to Chile, hehe), buses …
In schools and larger spaces, this set can be expanded with more rigid foam bricks, which will allow an infinite number of constructions.
These are large foam squares (about 60cmx40x20cm) that allow multiple constructions and games. A single cushion can be a car, a motorcycle … But if we stack 3 or 4 we can create a little house … And if we put together many more the possibilities are endless: trains, motorhomes …
Large building blocks are a guaranteed success because they allow you to create so many things with a purpose. By building houses, tents, and hiding places they have an objective that will enrich their role play but at the same time they are playing constructions and working on the conception of space that I have told you about previously.
How to build in reality the building that I want to do and that I see in my mind? How to build my playhouse? Or a chair? Or a car?
In addition, when playing with these types of blocks, children feel the satisfaction of creating something for themselves from scratch, something great and that encourages them to continue being creative and creating new challenges.
What else can you ask for from a game material?
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