As we read today’s devotional in Unwrapping the Greatest Gift with our preschoolers, today’s activity is a simple one. Block play. Block play is one of the most valuable educational activities young child can engage in, and is often overlooked. Studies show that preschoolers and toddlers who play with blocks frequently have significantly higher math skills in high school. Building with blocks builds motor coordination and spatial skills, encourages problem solving, and creativity. For more information on the science behind block play and preschoolers, and how to use blocks with your child to build language and social skills, check out this informative article at Parenting Science.
But isn’t this just playing? Won’t it be a distraction for them?
Yes, it is play, but also work. And it shouldn’t be a major distraction. As a matter of fact, a basket of blocks is a wonderful tool to help children of all ages focus during read-aloud time. Many children are able to listen better when they have something to do with their hands. While they are working, they are taking in more than you think! We like to vary our construction materials, and rotate blocks, Lincoln Logs, and Tinker Toys and Duplo during our read-aloud times.
The blocks you see in this picture come from an art activity from A Year of Playing Skillfully, our home school curriculum for children three to seven. This was an ongoing art project in shapes and color value that delighted our children and provided our family with a huge basket of these gorgeous blocks.
Today in Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, we are talking about Jacob and his ladder. Provide some construction toys for your child to explore while you read.
See, Jesus doesn’t just come down to show you the steps you have to take to get up to heaven – Jesus comes down and makes Himself into the steps to carry you up to heaven.
Everybody else may tell you the steps you have to take to get better. But Jesus is the only One who becomes the steps to take you there Himself- because He loves you already, just as you are.
Jesus doesn’t wait for you to be good. He comes to be with us who are having very awful, miserable, no-good days right now. Jesus comes to carry us who are feeling mad and bad and sad and anything but glad, and He left heaven to be with us who feel left out. Jesus comes to us who seem to get every step wrong – He becomes the step just to get us.
– Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift