Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones. As parents, we spend so much time schooling our kids on academics. We drive them to after-school activities and make them get good grades. We spend countless hours reading and discussing novels and non-fiction books. And we never seem to have enough time to teach them everything they need to know.
So it will come as no surprise to you that your kids probably need a bit of a lesson in life, too. Especially when it comes to building things.
Kids are more than capable of putting a block together. In fact, they’re great at it. They can see the big picture, understand spatial relationships and work through a problem with a solution. However, without the proper guidance, they can easily fall into the trap of building block towers rather than a house. Here are some essential tips on how to teach your kids to build better, more structurally sound buildings.
Teach Your Kids the Basics
Before your kids can build anything, they have to know how. You can’t build a safe bridge without first learning to write. Before they can build a house, they have to know how to put the blocks together. So teach them the basics.
Your child doesn’t need to know all of the in-depth details about blocks or buildings. They don’t need to know the names of the different types of blocks and where you keep them. What they need to know is the general concept. That’s why it’s important to start building at a young age.
Teach the “Five Levels of Building”
As a parent, you probably already know the “five levels of building” song. If not, it’s a great place to start. What’s the five levels of building? According to Dr. Seuss, there are five levels to building:
Theory – What is building? This level explains the basics, like blocks are made up of different shapes and blocks can be stacked on top of each other.
Practice – How do I build a house? This level teaches kids the names of the different blocks and how to put them together.
Application – What do my blocks look like? This level teaches kids to visualize and draw what their building looks like.
Evaluation – How does my building compare to others? This level teaches kids to critique their building and gives them a more critical eye.
Tell them why it’s important to build safely
During construction, building can be a dangerous activity. There are many things your kids can build in their free time that don’t involve building with blocks. But when it comes to building with blocks, there are a few important rules you need to enforce.
First, make sure you have all of the proper safety gear. This includes a quality safety helmet, safety goggles, safety gloves and a safety jacket or vest.
Next, make sure you know how to use it. There are several online safety courses you can take to learn the basics.
And finally, make sure you know where your kids are building. If you have limited space, consider building outside or in a play area that you have supervision over.
Help them understand structure
Structure is the underlying framework that holds everything up. So it makes sense that kids should understand it before they build. Here are a few tips on how to teach your kids about structure.
First, talk about how blocks are made up of smaller blocks called “eads.” You can show them how eads are made by breaking blocks in half.
Second, talk about how blocks can be recycled. Recycling blocks helps the environment and saves you money. So teach your kids to keep their blocks in a recycling bin to be used again.
And finally, talk about how strong bridges are built out of strong blocks.