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Blocks are incredibly versatile. You can make anything with blocks. And you can use anything as blocks: books, cushions, even plastic food containers. Which make them the perfect toy choice for a home environment where space is at a premium. So, what does your child learn from blocks? Motor Skills: Block play is all about eye-hand coordination and visual perception. Want to take it up a notch? Stack soft blocks or cushions as high as your preschooler can jump over them. Make an obstacle course or maze with blocks, and then knock a ping pong ball along the course with a golf club or clean fly swatter. Math: You can pattern blocks by shape or color. Blocks can be used as units of measure. It's easy to see how a 6-block-high tower is taller than a 4-block-high one. Science: You can demonstrate levers and inclined planes with blocks. One of our favorite science experiments involved making different types of block buildings on a movable table and then creating an "earthquake", observing which types of buildings sustained the least damage. Language: Write up traffic signs to use in a block neighborhood. Social/Emotional: Blocks are perfect for dramatization and role play. You can create props by gluing pictures to blocks or cereal boxes. Issue a challenge such as building an airport or a dream house. Life Skills: There is something so satisfying about the THUNK when you toss a block into its container. Set up a basket for each type of block and sort the blocks at the end of playtime for some great clean-up practice.

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