Blocks + Preschoolers = Learning

Author: Lisa Howie

The “Block Center” is a popular spot in each of our preschool classrooms at Virginia Chance School. Daily, you can find young children working independently, in pairs, or in small groups in this designated space. The materials are simple. Wooden unit blocks are the major pieces, but other types of blocks and building materials are offered as well.

51I-nQ9NtqLChildren as young as two use the blocks by moving them from one place to the next. They load up baskets and wagons and then dump the contents back out.


Three year olds work with blocks by laying them end to end to form “roads” and “pathways”. They stack the blocks on top of one another to build “houses” and other structures.



Fours take this a step farther and begin to construct enclosures. They engineer zoos, parking garages, and other complex designs that incorporate different levels of height and open spaces.

It’s easy to see the work of their hands, but much more is going on in their brains.



NPR recently aired a segment about the connection between wooden unit blocks and math skills. To read Behold the Humble Block! Tools Of The Trade, click here.

Learning about Geometry, Measurement, Balance and Symmetry, occurs naturally when exploring with building blocks.

517s87I9LfLBy adding art materials to the block center, children can document their work by tracing blocks, drawing a representation of their completed structure, or making a sign that asks “please don’t knock this down”.

Figurines and other props encourage storytelling and social/emotional components to the play. Cooperating with fellow builders allows for problem solving and communication opportunities.

51a7OPMyNHLPicture books and reference books about architecture are added to the block center to inspire thinking about the building process. Here are some examples of great “block” themed books to check out from you local library or book store.

More good news about blocks – they are great for all ages,  easy to clean up, not gender specific, do not require batteries or a charger, and last long enough to be shared with the next generation and beyond.  Get building today!