Minuta 2 Suggestions for Use

To understand children's learning with open-ended materials, it is often useful to step back and observe their spontaneous play and problem solving. Children use blocks in a variety of ways:

  • To create designs - arrangements with no particular function.
  • To build functional structures - things that move, shelters, and enclosures.
  • To build representations of real objects - sailboats, animals, and people.
  • To rearrange patterns - recombining a given set of blocks into different arrangements.
  • To act out narratives - using the blocks to tell a story.
  • To encounter and solve problems

Children will almost always start building on their own and may often build for long periods of time with great concentration. We have included some suggestions for use to further stimulate their ideas. However, we encourage parents and teachers to let children take the lead.

+ Language Development
  • I see you made a fence with the little trays. What animals can you put inside the fence? Do they have enough to eat?
  • Can you tell me about the long road you made? It looks as though you also made some hills. Do you think a frog would like your road?
+ Mathematical Thinking
  • Can you find enough nuts so there is one in each little tray?
  • If you put two nuts in each little tray, how many will you have altogether?
  • What shapes can you make with the 20 different little trays?
  • How far do you think the little trays will reach if you line them up?
  • Could you build a tower of trays as tall as you are?
+ Physical Knowledge
  • What is the strongest building you can make when you stand the little trays on their ends? Can you blow it down?
  • Can you make some buildings with two trays leaning on each other? Do you think they will stay up or fall down?
+ Aesthetic Ideas
  • I see you made some little paintings and put your favorite painting inside the little trays. Why are they your favorites? Do you like the colors and the shapes?
  • It looks like your paintings have a frame around them. Do all picture frames look like this? Let's see if we can find some fancier frames in this book.
+ Imaginative Play
  • There are a lot of tiny spiders living under the little wood trays. I keep them covered during the night so they don't come out when I am sleeping.
  • I made a lookout tower. You can turn it around to see all over.
  • I put a tiger and a bear and an elephant and a horse and an ant and a tarantula in my house but you can't see them.

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