February 13, 2018

Building and Structures at the South Florida Museum Blocks of Imagination!

I bet you know that building with blocks is fun but did you know that it also helps you to build your brain?  When you play with blocks you can learn math by counting, adding, subtracting, classifying and eventually multiplying using blocks.  You can become a young scientist and conduct experiments with blocks by comparing, predicting, problem solving, weighing, balancing and toppling your designs using gravity.  You can expand your vocabulary when you describe, retell, listen, expand and elaborate as you discuss your structures.  Blocks will help you to learn about people and things as you use your imagination and pretend, creating neighborhoods and habitats. And your family or school family can collaborate and use large blocks to cooperate on creating a joint project. The possibilities with blocks are limitless.
Our families experienced a night of building at the South Florida Museum.  We learned that there are many different types of blocks and they all will provide hours of fun! Our families had the opportunity to build with foam and brick blocks from our Early Learning Coalition.  Building helps young children improve eye-hand coordination, learn spatial skills and the properties of objects.  Important social interaction takes place as children show and explain what they have built.  Making choices about how and what to build encourages them to compare and contrast materials and structures.  Children who experiment and make changes to improve what they have built learn problem solving skills.
We learned that plants and animals are amazing builders too.  Our families went on a scavenger hunt to find these builders (or their handiwork) in the museum.  We then went into the courtyard and learned how drumming can help us to learn to read. Each member of the family was provided with a drum.  We used the drum sound and beat as we sounded out our vocabulary words.  This will help us to increase our phonological awareness. Phonemic awareness is essential for children to develop before they can begin learning to read.  Phonemic awareness is the understanding that words are made up of phonemes or individual units of sound that influence the meaning of the word.
We then heard the conclusion of the Three Havaianas by Ms. Mary, our Teaching Artist Story Teller.  The havaianas built a variety of homes but not all were able to withstand the dust devil in Arizona. We learned how and what you build with has implications.
If you were not able to come last night make sure that you watch Ms. Luanne’s Front Porch.  Ms. Luanne took us on a journey to meet our neighborhood hero Mr. Dan.  Mr. Dan is a different kind of builder who builds prosthetics for people and sometimes animals.  Have you seen the movie Dolphin Tale? Mr. Dan helped build the tail that saved the life of Winter the Dolphin.

What you build today can lead you toward your future career.  One of the most famous architects in the world, Mr.  Frank Lloyd Wright, designed more than 1,000 structures and said he became an architect because his mother gave him blocks as a child.