NPR’s Article on Blocks as Tools for Math and Social Skills Should Inspire Teachers and Parents

Today NPR is running a story on the way block play in preschool can teach children much more about math and getting along in life than you might have thought .

No one loves blocks more than occupational therapists, but it is increasingly harder to find them in family rooms and playrooms.  I often ask parents to buy blocks for their children, and I see cardboard blocks and plastic squeaky blocks well into the 3’s and 4’s.  It is not possible to build a good skyscraper with blocks designed for babies.  And the cardboard blocks are terrific but not very inspiring unless your aim is to plough into a stack with your body or your Cozy Coupe.  Magna-tiles are huge around here, but walls that stay up so easily and the limitation of square, rectangle and triangle pieces make me long for solid three-dimensional choices.  Solid wood blocks will stay stacked until gravity takes over, and have a wider variety of shapes for all the geometry and physics lessons that block play can inspire.  If you have run out of rectangles for your “block garage wall” and you have 2 squares that will take up the same space, you have just learned something really valuable.  Visible fractions, anyone?

I am hoping that this article will inspire parents to pick up some blocks and teach safe block play along with the math and the social skills of building together.

By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!

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