Getting the most from your toy blocks
Engage young children by participating yourself.
The research above suggests that kids get more from block play when someone demonstrates how to build with them.
Stimulate pretend play with character toys and other accessories.
The experiment on language skills involved giving kids blocks and appropriately-scaled accessory toys, like people and cars. Such toys give kids ideas for construction projects (e.g., a barn for a toy cow) and encourage pretend play.
Combine block play with story-time.
Researcher Janie Heisner used toy blocks and block- accessories to illustrate parts of the stories she read to kids in a preschool (Heisner 2005). After each story, the kids were given access to the props. This tactic seemed to increase pretend play. It also gave kids ideas for things to build.