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Gallery Guide

For Parents with Young Children

Play

Do you remember when playing was your favorite pastime? For your child, play is not just a way to have fun and burn energy, it is essential for learning and development. In fact, UNICEF recognizes that every child has the right to play!

BLUE! recognizes that play is powerful and essential for learning and development. Children learn cognitive skills by persisting through challenges; social skills by sharing and compromising with others; and vocabulary skills by talking together about play.

When children express their natural curiosity through play, they strengthen their scientific thinking and problem-solving skills. By encouraging this desire to learn, you are preparing your child to be a leader in tomorrow's STEM fields and industries. Children learn about engineering by designing bridges and arches that hold weight, towers that stay standing, and ramps to carry objects from place to place are challenging tasks that inventive engineers face every day! When children build, they are practicing math skills such as noticing each block's length, width, shape, and weight, and then making a decision about which block will work best for their purpose.

Planning

Children age 3 and older are able to plan their activities and identify their goals when playing. Kids who plan their play are practicing their scientific thinking by making guesses, and testing their guesses. Use these small blocks as prototypes to help your child organize his or her thoughts and make a plan:

  • Start by paying attention to your child's words and gestures- you'll be a better helper if you understand his or her idea!
  • Next, ask your child about the goal. You might ask, "How will you build your tower? Can you show me which blocks you will use?"
  • Talk to your child about the details of his or her plan. You could say, "It looks like you will build a wide tower. I wonder if you'll build by the wall, or by the windows."
  • Encourage your children to think independently by respecting their ideas and decisions. Support them when necessary, but let them direct their own play!

Fine and gross motor skills

When kids are moving, their brains are working as hard as their muscles! Until children reach adulthood, they constantly work on improving and refining control of their muscles and movement. Young children especially are still learning how to control their bodies.

You may see your child exercising his or her gross motor skills (large muscle movements) or fine motor skills (small muscle movements) in the following ways: moving large blocks around; balancing or stacking blocks; picking up and placing small blocks.



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