Thursday, May 24, 2012

Classroom Centres - Block Area


There are some areas in the classroom that every centre likes to have.  One of the most popular centres of all is the Block Centre.

Here are some things I have always included in the block area in my classroom. Please suggest any other items that you have experience with that I can add to my blog. Thanks!

- Wooden blocks


- Cardboard boxes/Recyclable Material


- Foam boxes


- Brick-shaped/coloured boxes 


- Cars/Transportation


- Road Carpet


- Hollow blocks


- Lego (Different sizes)


- People


We see the block centres nearly in every classroom. But what is the point of having these materials? 

- They allow children to use their fine motor muscles (small fingers to perfect the skill of balance, steadiness and grip/grasp as they play with small lego pieces and the blocks)

- They learn how to perfect their gross motor muscles (large muscles in arms, legs, and the rest of the body as they pick up the large blocks).

- They learn about hand-eye coordination. This is very important for them to learn because it requires for a lot of focus through their vision to complete a task using their hands.

- They learn about building and construction.

- They learn about structures; how balance and a solid foundation is key for buildings to stay standing.

- They learn about mapping (a big part in the school curriculum) through playing with the road carpet, transportation and the rules of traffic. 

- They learn about the community (the road carpets have lots of important buildings on their such as hospitals, fire stations, police stations, schools, etc.) 

- They learn to problem solve as they figure out ways to create their work. (Specially trying to make a bridge stand without any foundation underneath!)

- So much math is involved! Structures, problem solving, mass, weight, balance and spatial skills. 

- Language is involved: creating their own stories with the blocks and being able to communicate it with their peers and teachers. 

Children love this centre. Whenever possible, teachers and parents should get down on the floor and play with the children. It further helps to develop social skills, communication skills, math skills (challenge them with building things). This adds on to cooperative and pretend play. 


  1. Thank you! I wondered what the pt of blocks were. The children seem to enjoy them but I wasn't sure there was a lot of merit to having them.

    1. No problem! I like to share the benefits of all materials in the classrooms. It helps everyone see the big picture.

  2. I remember my kids from 2009 used to make the most awesome constructions using just unit blocks ... the kids that I'm casual teaching now - don't do anything with the blocks other than take them out and leave them on the floor. I've been busy adding things to other areas of the room ... you've inspired me to see what I can make happen for block area in a week!

    1. I am so glad to hear that! Thank you for such great comments. If you would like any more ideas, let me know and I would love to help out! Good luck!

  3. This is a great blog!!!!!!!!!! I am passing this site on to my students' parents. Here are some of our favorite centers. I teach a k-1-2 classroom. I do literacy centers in the morning and math/science centers in the afternoon.

    read the labels in the room

    Write Around the Room (kids have clipboards and pens to write words they see in the room. They are k's so they don't actually "write" but their writing is still important)

    Highlighter center--given a word search they highlight letters or sight words

    letter sorting (with magnetic letters they sort letters in words, sort letters in/not in their name, or use a Venn diagram to sort letters in two different words

    POcket Chart--sorting class names or sight words by number of s yllables, number of letters, beginning letter, or by girls/boys OR sort pictures by beginning consonant sound, living/non living, farm/zoo animals, etc.

    Word Train (I help the kids connect words they can write/sound out to each other. The end sound of one word is the same as the beginning sound of the next--cat tiger rag grow water....)

    At the beginning of the year we did more centers with letter recognition, tracing feely letters, writing letters in shaving cream, playing go fish with letter cards (matching upper and lowercase), covering letters with items (sand for S, ribbons for R, etc.)

    looking at objects with magnifying glasses

    creating and extending patterns with beads, pattern blocks, etc. sometimes I have the kids extend each other's patterns or draw a pattern (AAB, etc) out of a bowl and make that pattern)

    Block Game (kids sit in a circle, each child has three blocks. Play goes around circle as each child places one block on the tower. The tower has to keep buiding up and the kids see how many blocks they can make it before it falls down. THey come up with interesting ideas about how to make it taller)

    Domino Fill-Up--lay out 9 domino cards (~dice arrangements 1-9) between two kids. Kids take turn rolling die and taking that many beans/markers. They put as many beans as they rolled on the domino cards. If they fill up a card they get to keep it. For instance if they roll a three, they can put three beans on the three domino or split their beans between the one domino and the two domino (and take two cards). It's good for strategy

    If you need more help, let me know. I'd love to send you more specific ideas if you need them.

    1. The domino center is a great one. I am going to make it for my class.

    2. Absolutely AMAZING Sigrid! Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful ideas. My next post is going to be about the Literacy centre and I will be sharing your activities on here. Look out for the post!! Also, the math activities are wonderful; they sound like a lot of fun coupled with learning. Thanks again

    3. Actually, I'm glad you are going to do a post on literacy centres too. I am interested in seeing/hearing about centres in all areas of language arts -not just writing but word play and riddles and games.

  4. Playing with blocks can lead to some great dev. appropriate questions you can ask the children that will also elicit some higher order thinking skills:

    Is there another way you could try it?
    Would it help to have some ___?
    How did you decide on your design?
    Tell me about your creation.
    What could you do with these things?
    Can you change it? How?
    Why do you think your plan didn't work?
    What would happen if I ___? Why?

  5. I like the questions you suggested Corrine. I wonder if you could make that into some sort of checklist for assessment purposes? Great blog!

  6. Thanks it's great blog, I appreciate whatever mention here and keep interest come back soon.
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