Building Better Block Play Part 2

Mixing It Up

This lesson looks at some ideas for adding spice and variety to block play. Our human brains like novelty, so switching things up in the block play once in a while is sure to reinvigorate block play–and learning. Below, you’ll find seven ideas. This is not an exhaustive list of all they ways you can add variety–just some ideas intended to serve as a jumping off point for your own creative ideas.


It might seem weird to put blocks on a list of things to spice up block play, but stick with us. It’s important to have a core collection of blocks that are always available, but you can keep block play spicy by rotating different blocks into the space from time to time. That’s one of the reasons we’re such fans of DIY block options–they serve as novel supplements to traditional blocks.


Rotating different play props in and out of the block play area is another good strategy for mixing it up. You may find there are some items kids need/want all the time–favorite vehicles or plastic frogs, for example. Those items may need to always be available. Other items can be periodically rotated out of the block play area and replaced with fresh items.


Another thing you can change up now and again is the block play location. For example, bringing inside blocks outside or letting kids build with the big unit blocks on a table top instead of on the floor. Or, if you want to get really wild, set up a block play tent or build a blanket fort over the block play area.


Simple things, like adding aluminum foil to the block play area so kids can wrap up the blocks, will also keep block play fresh. Sheets of wrapping paper–or newspaper–and tape are also a fun variation.


Periodically adding blocks to water play will also help keep block play interesting. You will, however, need to consider which blocks dive into water play. Some blocks are more water friendly than others. Water play duty is a great job for some DIY blocks since many of the ideas are made from water-friendly materials.


Placing a light table in the block area from time to time will grab the attention of kids–especially if you make some translucent blocks available. Another idea is to set up an LED floodlight (they don’t generate heat like other types of lighting) in the block play area in a location were it will cast the shadows of block creations.


Mirrored surfaces add some visual spice to block play. The mirror can be placed on the floor as a building surface or on a wall where structures will be reflected.

If you give this a try, use acrylic mirror instead of glass. The acrylic is much more durable–it’s available in many home centers and online.


We’ve shared some additional ideas for keeping things spicy on the session’s resource page and hope these ideas will help spark some of your own.

Next, a look at some DIY blocks made with recyclables.

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