2014-03-12 / Lifestyles

Grandparents Teach, Too

Have you ever observed very focused children create something from Legos or Trio blocks? They have skills adults can help nurture in young children just beginning to build. For more ideas to help children see grandparentsteachtoo.org.

Organize Blocks

Sometimes young children need to be left to just play and experiment with their blocks. Other times families can teach them skills like how to follow stepby step pictures to build a project. Does this mean you must be an engineer? Not at all, here are some simple ideas to help you interact easily.

Discuss how sorting and organizing materials by color and shape will help each time they build. Then provide and label some see through containers. It will be easier to search for parts and clean up.

Organize Thinking

Help children choose a colored diagram from a book included in toy building kits. This book can be a source of ideas and help children come up with their own or make modifications. Guide children toward a simple project you think will be successful.

Then help children look at the picture guide carefully. Count out how many of each kind of block is needed for building and place in piles. If there are enough blocks, make your own project, too.

Discuss how you are going to start making the project. Encourage your children to think out loud and ask questions as they build. Say your own thoughts out loud as you plan and build so they learn how thinking looks and sounds.

Talk about when they make projects with others it is fun to talk back and forth, ask questions, and share ideas. You are helping young children think through math problems, since building teaches geometry and many other skills.

Compare the project you are building with the picture of the step- by- step photos. Do the pictures look like your project? Do children have an idea to make it better or different?

What Else Can We Do?

Challenge each other. Play a game called “Can You Make What I Make?” The name says it all. Take pictures of the final projects and send them to cousins. Can they make the projects, too?

Investigate what happens if a piece is added and it interferes with stability or balance. Encourage family members to give Mega Blocks, Duplo, K”NEX, Bristle Blocks, Gears, or other engineering toys as gifts.

Make a card game with a project like a house, truck, fence, airplane, or robot. Pick a card. Can one person make the object and the others guess what it is?

Encourage children to help adults with household projects.

Check the library for engineering books like ‘The Lego Ideas Book” by Lipkowitz, or the “Lego Adventure Books” series.

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