This building activity encourages children to recognize shapes and to use math-specific vocabulary to talk about a structure they are building.
Learning Area(s): Language and Communication; Math
- Building blocks (made out of wood, foam, plastic, etc.)
Sit on the floor with the child and build a structure together using building blocks. As your child builds the structure, ask her to name the block shapes she is using. If she doesn’t know the name of the shapes, name them for her. You might also ask, “How many squares did you use? Did you use any triangles? What shape are going to use next?”
Once the block structure is complete, you and your child can count the number of blocks used or the number of blocks left over. Together you can also practice measuring the building. For example, “The building is five blocks high.”
- Be mindful of how many questions you are asking while your child builds. Some children do not liked to be “quizzed” and will begin to ignore you or end the activity. If this happens, reduce the number of questions you are asking and just be a friendly play partner.
- To make this activity more challenging, have the child give specific directions so that you can build an identical block structure. You can say, “I really love what you built! I want to try to build mine so it looks just like yours, but I need you to tell me how to build it!” Build the structure according to the directions the child is giving. Ask additional questions when necessary to complete the structure: “Where do I put this block? What block goes next? Do I use the blue rectangle or the red rectangle?” When the second block structure is complete, encourage the child to compare it to the first block structure to see if they look the same.