As scientists and researchers find that STEM importance is on the rise, educators and parents wonder how to improve STEM familiarity with young children. A recent study by NAEYC claims that an intentional block center in conjunction with the engineering design process can help support learning experiences in young children’s classrooms, especially experiences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Using block center activities and building blocks, children learn to become problem solvers. They understand the foundations of engineering as they play. Using educational construction toys, they “learn how to define problems, research solutions, build and test prototypes, and share the results with friends and family. Research shows that when teachers facilitate the engineering design process, the amount of time children engage in an activity increases, as does the number of engineering behaviors they exhibit and the likelihood that they will finish the activity.”—NAEYC
NAEYC suggests educators use the engineering design process to teach engineering:
1. Asking questions and defining problems.
2. Use background research to plan and create.
3. Building, testing, and redesigning.
4. Communicating results.
NAEYC argues the engineering design process does more than just teach children the foundations of engineering. Block play also increases motivation for children to practice their gross and fine motor skills because they’re taught to play with blocks of different shapes and sizes. Block play enhances a child’s ability to cooperate with other children, helping “nurture group work, so children develop important social skills and higher levels of critical thinking.” Hands-on activities with educational construction toys also encourages children to make real-world connections with their new knowledge of engineering.
“Through the developmentally appropriate environment of the block center, children built and tested solutions to real-world problems, demonstrating English language arts standards. Using simple classroom blocks, and the engineering design process as a guide, teachers can confidently provide authentic and developmentally appropriate educational experiences.”
Brackitz agrees that the engineering process is useful, but we also want to emphasize the importance of play to the educationalprocess. Block play with building toys are proven to be beneficial for promoting STEM education. There is a definite connection between play and discovery, and educational construction toys are one of the best ways to promote both. Through play, children develop gross motor and fine motor skills.
About Brackitz: Brackitz is the only construction and building toy that actually lets kids design any structure they envision –anything! Our one-of-a-kind Brackitz enable connections at any angle, allowing kids to use real-life architectural and engineering principles to create large-scale, gravity-defying, 3-D structures –with no limitations.