Children need the opportunity to play with blocks in a special area without interference or competition from other materials. Train sets and marble play are great items to include in your fine motor area.
There are three different types of blocks according to the ECERS-R:
- Large Hollow
These blocks can be made out of a variety of materials and can be a variety of sizes. A variety of blocks is necessary in order for children to have the ability to build and create.
Finding enough space for block play is always a challenge but the best way to include block play in your classroom is to think of the things that you need for successful block play. The best block play space includes the following:
Clear floor space – no other furniture or materials
Labeled block shelves
Enough blocks for three or more children to build
Enough floor space for three or more children
Other small building materials and pretend play materials may be included but cannot take away from the block play. Natural items may be included as well.
There are some that are acceptable. Tree trunks and small rocks are wonderful things to add into your block area.
- I don't have a lot of space. Is it ok if I teach the children how to be careful walking through the area that I've set up for block play?
Suitable space for building should include enough space that children do not have to walk through it. It is very discouraging to have your block building knocked down by another child even if it is an accident.
If you are trying to meet "substantial portion of the day…" then you must have all the same requirements for indoors including enough blocks for three children, dedicated space, and labeled shelves. However, if you have met the requirement for substantial portion of the day then a large number of blocks are not required, but make sure that you provide a space for block play that is out of the way of the more active and physical play that sometimes takes place during outdoor gross motor play.