Building with blocks is a fun way to develop problem solving skills and learn basic maths concepts. It also promotes creativity and imaginary play, improves communication skills, and offers opportunities to cooperate and negotiate with others.

Why do it?

  • Building with blocks helps children to learn the basics of physics and maths.
  • Block play can involve a lot of patterns and sequences, which are the basics of sentence structure. 
  • Block play invites creativity and promotes imaginary play. Blocks can be cars, buildings, a cell phone or a person.
  • Children can share their ideas with each other during block play, improving their communication skills.
  • Block play with others provides an opportunity to learn to co-operate and negotiate.
  • Building with blocks provides opportunities to:

    • explore balance
    • problem-solve
    • use hand–eye coordination
    • use language
    • work/play with others
    • use imagination
    • be creative.

How to do it

  • If blocks aren’t available, collect small empty boxes and tins, timber offcuts, cardboard rolls, plastic bottles and lids. 
  • Let your child explore with the items freely. 
  • When they start to build, ask them what they need. Encourage and support them.
  • Try to let the child lead, with the adult following what they do.
  • Play dough and tape can be used to stick pieces together.
  • Together use the blocks to build towers, roads, buildings, farms … the possibilities are endless. 
  • Bring in toy animals, cars and people to extend the play.
  • When outside, use chalk to make roads and paths, and use blocks for additional props like cars, buses and buildings. Play dough balls can be used to poke twigs in, to make ‘trees’ for the world you're building.

Using more te reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Ngā rākau Blocks
To build
Ngā Ipu Containers
Stick, adhere
Kohia ētahi... Collect some...
Homai te... Give me the...
Mauria mai te... Bring me the...
Me pēnei Do it like this...
Kia tūpato Be careful
Titiro mai Look here