Building with Blocks

Amazon Pool

Do you ever notice when your group of Mission Friends tend to gravitate towards certain activities? My group this year seem to be drawn to the Blocks area. Every week, that is the first interest area that they go to. It is not just our boys who gravitate towards activities in Blocks. Some of the girls are in the Blocks area each week, also. Our preschoolers, who are 3s and 4s, spend a lot of time building really elaborate structures. A couple of our preschoolers concentrate so much on what they build, that sometimes the Blocks area is the only interest area in which they play in 1 session of Mission Friends. I have to make sure they learn about missions in this interest area.

Because our group gravitates towards the Blocks area so much, I choose activities each week for that interest area from Mission Friends Leader. Back in the fall, I first noticed how good they are at building when I added several pictures of different churches from the Mission Friends Resource Kit and Pictures. One of our preschoolers showed me his building. He had put together two arch blocks to make a round window in the wall, and then used a triangle block for the roof line. Wow, it really looked like the church in the picture!

From that time I started to notice their block play, and intentionally included objects suggested each week so their play would guide them in learning about missions. When we learned about missionaries who serve in the Amazon basin, one of the suggestions was to use rocks and flat glass marbles to make the Amazon River. I put these in Blocks and two of the preschoolers put the rocks into more of a circle than a river. When I said something about the Amazon River, they told me, “We made the Amazon Pool!” During that same month as we talked about trees in the rain forest along the Amazon River, I took in several slices from a small tree that had fallen. We looked at the rings in the slices, and the preschoolers had the biggest time using the slices in the structures they built.

I’m not sure what makes a group gravitate to 1 interest area more than others, but I enjoy seeing my preschoolers play in Blocks. So much is going on mentally as they learn about spatial issues (above, below, etc.), balance, shapes, sizes, and numbers. Preschoolers grow socially as they work together, use language, and share with one another. The Blocks area is a place where they use their creativity as they build their own structures. They learn about missions through their play and our conversations as they build. I like the Blocks area for all the learning that takes place. Preschoolers like this area because building with blocks is fun!

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