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The Tumbling Tower

Four year old Brian is known for his elaborate block constructions. He builds houses for his pretend family, garages for his toy cars, fire stations and tall city towers. The delight in his eyes when he finishes a construction is contagious, but Brian didn’t always build such fantastic things. Block building goes through stages of development, just like walking and talking do. Often times the finished product, like the towers, is far less important than the exiting process of building and then knocking them down.

Children need to learn how to use the blocks before they can build these creations. 18 month old Jacob is a perfect example of how block building starts. He lines up all of the wooden blocks over and over again. He hauls them around in giant bins or pushes them like a powerful bulldozer. Jake stacks them as high as he can reach and then gleefully sends his tower tumbling to the ground. The blocks are manipulated simply for the joy of doing it.

Once the child learns how blocks work, they pass into the same stage that three year old Chloe is in. She’s at the beginning stages of true building. The blocks will be placed in a large square, or built into a tall tumbling tower, but they are yet to be labeled as a pretty house or red brick fire station. She recognizes that they are buildings but she’s not quite ready to add the advanced pretend aspects to her constructions.

No matter what stage of development a particular child is in, despite their hard work, many still love to destroy their creations. That’s simply because the process is always more important than the product. It’s about the thrill of play, so play today and let the towers tumble!

Author: Emily Bloomquist, Early Childhood Education Student