Blocks–Building More Than You Realize!

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Picture this–You’ve just bought your child a great new toy. It’s fun, it’s colorful, and it’s supposed to be great for their development! You are so excited to pull it out and start the fun! But the next thing you know your child is playing with the empty box it came in and having the time of his life. Does this experience sound familiar?

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this type of story from parents! Children are curious beings and can make toys out of just about anything. Because of this some of our favorite toys to suggest to parents are a simple set of wooden blocks.

While playing with blocks, children learn all about counting, equality, addition, subtraction, planning, patterns, volume, classification, area and measurement. When parents engage with their child in block play it also provides teaching moments for social skills, language and exploration.

Check out these activity ideas to add some variety to your family’s block play:

  • Make your own blocks: Using standard size boxes (milk cartons, capri sun, etc.) you can make blocks by covering them with sturdy wrapping paper or contact paper. Allow your child to guide the activity and discuss the sizes as you create the blocks.
  • Create your home: Have your child look at the neighborhood and your home. Help them build a structure like your home. Make sure you take pictures and show off your child’s work whenever friends or family are around.
  • Knock ’Em Down: Margarine tubs are best for this. Children stack them up, then with flourish, knock them down. Of course, everyone applauds. Then you do it all over again. Kids love it!
  • Ramp It: Create a variety of ramps with blocks. Roll a small ball down the ramps. Which incline makes the ball roll slower? Faster?
  • Making Patterns: Provide blocks of different shapes or colors. Create a pattern for children to repeat, such as square, rectangle, square, rectangle or red, blue, red, blue. Ask children to create new patterns for you to repeat.
  • Visit Discovery Gateway’s Block Party Exhibit: Children can build amazing structures from floor to ceiling with the giant blue blocks, connecting parts into the gallery walls, and transforming the space with power of their imaginations.
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Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune Lily Edmondson plays in the new Imagination Playground Block Party at Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum in Salt Lake City, Thursday October 1, 2015.

Help Me Grow Utah has hundreds of age appropriate activity ideas for parents at no cost! You can learn more by calling 801-691-5322 or visiting helpmegrowutah.org

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: Checking in on Development

Early childhood is a critical time in your child’s development. There are a lot of exciting things happening from birth to age 5! The skills your child builds during those years form the foundation they will build on for the rest of their life. Nearly every aspect of your child’s adult life begins in those early years, so it’s important to give them a great start! The World Health Organization has said “The early child period is considered to be the most important developmental phase throughout the lifespan…What happens to the child in the early years is critical for the child’s developmental trajectory and lifecourse.”

As a parent you are your child’s nurturer and you will guide them through these exciting developmental times. It’s easiest to do this when you feel you have all the tools you need, one of these tools is knowing what milestones to expect as your child develops.

I want to share with you a simple tool that you can use right now to check in on your child’s development, and the best part is it’s as easy as playing with your child. Help Me Grow Utah offers parents access to a developmental screening for children 0-5, at no cost. This is a simple questionnaire that you can fill out to see how your child is doing across all areas of development! You can use this screening to highlight your child’s strengths, discover new activities they are ready for, and to see what skills they may need practice with. After submitting the screening Help Me Grow will talk over the results with you and provide age appropriate activities to continue your child’s progression. Click here to fill out a developmental screening today! http://bit.ly/HelpMeGrowASQ

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison