We have a set of wooden blocks that have been in our family for generations. Silas and Petra love to play with them. My brother and I did, too (which explains some bizarre labels written on them–one says “Guinea Pig” and another says “Princes”). They were my mom and uncle’s–I’m not sure if my aunts played with them. My mom told me that they were her dad’s, and that some of them might have been his dad’s.
We have enough blocks that Petra and Silas can both play. Silas has finally gotten good enough with them that the frustration factor is acceptably low. It seems like he went from hardly being able to build a three-block stack to designing barns, castles, bridges, and rocket ships, practically overnight.
This is Silas–just leaps and bounds. Petra is more slow-and-steady. They hit their milestones at just about the same times, but Silas always makes me wonder if he’s going to.
I’ve heard that there are entire curricula based on using blocks, and I’m interested in exploring that. He’s already got a sophisticated vocabulary for three-dimensional shapes. I do a double-take hearing him say, “Mama, Petra took all of the arches!” or “I’m trying to find the green cylinder block.” I’m trying to start to be a bit more deliberate about Silas’ education–not in a heavy way, but having prepared activities for him to explore, or a five-minute game that teaches something. He counts quite competently now, up to the mid-twenties. I used the blocks to introduce some basic addition concepts–how many of this kind, how many of that kind, how many all together? I keep trying to get him to complete a pattern, but he doesn’t get it. That’s the one pre-reading skill he doesn’t have yet, and I think once he figures it out, he’ll finish putting the pieces together.
Mostly, we just play.