Tracks and Tunnels

 

Building blocks encourage children to use many of their skills while using their fine motor abilities in making structures. The children are exploring their curiosity and becoming more confident in working with their minds and hands.

One morning, Jacob was making a track and he was trying to make the cars bounce on top of them. He said, “We need the cars to bounce, bounce, bounce!” But by doing so, Alexander noticed something and said… “The track is broken!” Whoops! Jacob and Alexander were working together to figure out how to put the tracks back together…

 

 

 

 

They decided on a different approach…and they made a tunnel instead. But when they tried to drive the cars through, it broke! No worries—they worked together and made another one. The tunnels kept breaking, but they kept building more of them. And each time the tunnels were getting wider…and wider!

 

 

 

 

Eventually, the tunnels were wide enough for cars to fit through, and they didn’t’t break. 😀

 

 

 

The next day, a group of boys began using different materials at the building area and they were working in different groups, doing different things…

 

 

 

Alexander and Jackson were connecting waffle blocks! Alexander was concentrating very hard, and when he was done, he said, “These are tracks for the cars and trucks!” Jackson was also determined, and when he finally connected the last one, he was so excited that he raised two trucks and yelled, “ahh!” then slammed the trucks on the track.  At the other end of the table, Jayson was connecting the waffle blocks. But he wasn’t’t making a track, he was making cubes.

 

 

Meanwhile, Logan and Jacob were lining up airplanes and trucks then pushed them off!
Jacob: “We’re racing with the cars, helicopters, and planes… ready…set…”
Logan: “He’s going in the water guys. He’s still moving! Help, he’s in the trap!”
Jacob: “Help! I’m in the sky and I’m going to fall!”

 

 

Even though the small group of boys were working separately, they all came together and found ways to incorporate their separate projects into one! Jacob and Logan began to race their cars and trucks on Alexander and Jackson’s tracks, and then they were using Jayson’s cubes as traps!

 

 

Later that day, we provided the children with popsicle sticks. There were big ones, small ones, and colorful ones. Alexander, Jayson, and Jackson all wanted to make their tracks and they used different sticks for different things. They were piling up the sticks and lining them up and they were all talking about their tracks.

 

Alexander: “We’re making tracks.”
Jackson: “I’m going to make a train for my tracks.”
Alexander: “Let’s make big tracks.”
Jayson: “Why?”
Alexander: “So the train can fit!”
Jayson: “Look, mine is small!”
(Alexander laid down big sticks)
Alexander: “This will stop the train.”
Jackson: “If red means stop, then green means go…
and yellow means SLOW DOWN SLOW DOWN!”
(Taylor joins and starts making a track)
Taylor: “I’m making a track that looks like a piano.”
Jackson: “Then let’s sing a song!”

The children sang ‘The Farmer In The Dell’ and ‘Happy Birthday’ as they continued to build.

 

J sat on his train beside the train track the whole time.

 

 

A’s track kept getting longer and he kept piling up the big sticks to stop the train.

He said, “The tracks are for big tires that do this…”

 

J and T’s tracks were small, but they both made two of them and they kept saying, “One…two… One…two…”

One important aspect of this project, that most people over look, is the incredible problem solving and communication that is occurring.  For adults, figuring out that the tunnels need to be wider and that there is an easier way to build without the blocks breaking, is something we take for granted.  As a child, these problems are BIG problems, and the effort and dedication they have to developing a solution is something we are very proud to see happening.  They never show frustration but always an excitement to try to solve the problem.  They don’t argue about other opinions, but welcome each other’s ideas.  These are the skills that our children will need to become successful in their futures.  They will be the innovators, problem solvers, contributors and creators of tomorrow.

 

Through building with blocks, they are learning math through shapes, sizes, and counting. They are improving their social development by communicating and working with their friends. They are practicing their cognitive and problem solving skills by asking questions and finding solutions. And by using their imagination and creativity, this helps them understand perspectives and gain art skills.

 

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