The blocks area is a great opportunity for the “bigger”, “smaller” and “faster” mentioned earlier.
Remember that by definition, blocks are not connectable, but rather they are stack-able. Just having a set of standard blocks in this area will lose its appeal very quickly for the average school age child. To keep this area interesting, change things up frequently, and in keeping with the themes. One advantage to working with children of this age is that small items no longer pose a threat as a choking hazard. By providing small boxes as well as scraps of foil and fabric with other tiny materials, the children can create miniature settings for their play. These might end up being a doll house, space ship, invention or robot, and when allowed to save the creations from one day to the next, can enhance their play for days.
When these activities are done at a table while the younger children are napping in a home child care setting, they will not pose a choking hazard to the little ones in care. Just be extra diligent about clean up before the little ones awake.
On the other hand, by providing oversized boxes and tubes, etc. as building materials, and sufficient space, the children will create their own life sized club house, city, space ship, invention or robot and the younger children will delight in their creations.
Marble mazes are also a regular endeavor, but when materials are added to create their own cars, whether out of Lego’s or small boxes with spools, marbles or wheels and challenge them to build the fastest car, there is new life to the learning.
School aged children are also at just the right level of development to enjoy kinetic challenges – to build a machine that will accomplish some specific task. By adding a few “How To” books their imagination and creativity have been even more engaged.
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