Block Party success!

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group block play
group block play

Children and families of University City Children's Center celebrated the 100th birthday of the unit block with a gigantic Block Party in the open gallery outside the classrooms. Here's what dad Antonio Howard, father to Alanah in Supernovas and Brooklyn in Starbursts, had to say about the party: "Our children have a beautiful future.  They jumped right in building great things.  It was amazing to witness their collective creativity.  To see the children working together was inspiring." Four teachers, Kristin, Joi, Lisa and Taylor, formed the Block Party committee that worked extra hard to make it happen. Here are their tips for hosting a Block Party at any center:

  • Keep emotional considerations at the forefront: Make sure to provide another related activity in another space for children who might get overwhelmed by the noisy and crowded activity. For example, UCCC classrooms set up rice krispies treat-making stations.
  • Engage the families: Invite families to join in, send information home ahead of time to help families to become involved and understand the importance and role of block play. Make a welcoming display in advance with documentation about blocks and photos of how classrooms have been preparing.
  • Make sure you have LOTS of blocks and LOTS of space to build.
  • Make sure the play is open-ended: Using just blocks without extraneous materials allows children to imagine and create. Once they have done that, then introduce other materials to extend the imagination and play.
  • Create anticipation by discussing the event in advance in classrooms and planning with children what they might build. They can draw plans, paint, or build smaller 3-D models.
  • Infants and toddlers should have their own space separate from the older children and larger building structures. They can also use vinyl blocks or boxes to stack.
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blocks2
blocks2

Here's what the teachers say they would do differently next time:

  • More blocks!
  • Build on the theme more in other areas of curriculum.
  • More blocks!
  • Introduce other materials to extend children's imagination and play.
  • More blocks!

Click here for video of Executive Director Steve Zwolak discussing the importance of block play with Christine Buck on KPLR Channel 11 .

Click here for information about block play for different ages.

NewsAleshia Patterson