This week I put foam cubes with the wooden blocks. What did I plan for them to do? No plan. This group enjoys playing with blocks. I wanted to add something as an option for them, so the foam cubes. I picked up these cubes from the Target dollar shelves a couple of years ago. They are great for all kinds of things.
We had several children out this week; only a few were there. One boy went to the blocks and began to explore. I sat nearby and watched him work.
He began a tower of some sort. Then he added cubes. Suddenly he brushed off all the cubes and began adding them again, carefully selecting which ones would go on the block.
Do you see his selection choice?
While he worked, we talked from time to time. Sometimes about what he was doing. Other times about other things. He told me his Easter plans. He experimented and adjusted his building as we talked.
He took down some of his building and began a new experiment. I was interested in how he tried different things to create balance. He would sometimes hold a block or cube carefully on top of the structure and, if it wobbled or tried to topple, he would catch and remove that one addition to try something else.
He tries several different things before deciding on the triangle in the middle of his structure.
I moved to other parts of the room and came back to discover something new. He had created a circle target with the blocks and was tossing the foam cubes through the circle.
He discovered that sometimes tossing more softly helped his accuracy than tossing with a lot of force.
He played this game alone for a few minutes. I was distracted with other things in the room and lost track of my builder for a while.
I encountered him again at the art table, working on a color collage. We talked about what he was doing. I glanced over at the blocks center. Every block, every cube was back in place. He had carefully put away the materials before moving on.
As I look at these photos again, I think about his learning--balance and force, science and math, artistic expression, hand-eye coordination, responsibility. Probably even more things that I could accurately articulate or observe.
I thought about my recent reading in The Power of Play. I remembered David Elkind's observation: Self-chosen activities for children have meaning, purpose, and significance for the child - even if we adults don't see the point.
I watched a builder...and marvel at the discoveries he must have uncovered.