Saturday, January 7, 2012

Which One Is Different?

If the house caught on fire but I still had some time to rescue a toy after getting all the important stuff out, there is no question in my mind that I would take our Haba blocks. Blocks and balls are pretty much the best toys ever, and I think the kid and I could play well for years with these gorgeous building blocks.

Anyway, J got two new sets of Haba blocks for Christmas, and to my surprise, one set, the Clown Blocks, was on a smaller scale than the usual Haba blocks (3 cm for Clown blocks vs. the usual 4 cm). At first I was very mildly disappointed, but then I realized (a) who cares, they're still great, and (b) this new variety of shapes and sizes offered great opportunity for what Jackson calls a "lesson." In fact, after we did this for the first time yesterday, he come up to me today and said, "Blocks...lesson?" and we did it all over again.

Basically, I unrolled a place mat (Montessori says it focuses the child's attention), set out four blocks in a random arrangement, and asked him to point out which one is different. He did a great job, although for some reason the combination of three rectangular solids and one cube confounded him and/or made him mad. But he blasted through everything else, and I got a chance to very gently introduce vocabulary like taller, wider, diameter, cube, cylinder, cone and so forth.

Here he is pointing out that the larger triangle is the one that is different.
We compared the following sets of blocks:

  • 3 large cubes, 1 small cube
  • 3 small triangles, 1 large triangle (pictured above)
  • 3 red cubes, 1 yellow cube
  • 3 short wide cylinders, 1 narrower taller cylinder
  • 3 rectangular solids, 1 cube
  • 3 cubes, 1 rectangular solid
  • 3 cylinders, 1 rectangular solid
  • 3 rectangular solids, 1 cylinder
  • 3 cylinders, 1 cylinder with a "hat" (conical tower topper thing)
When we got to the cylinders, Jackson took over and decided it was time to play/work on his own. He had a field day exploring the many dimensions of the four cylinders, including shape and sound.

1 comment:

  1. We love our Haba blocks, too, but I don't have that set. Block play seems to have fallen by the wayside, so a new type of block may be in order. I love the photos and the chance to see how you use them!