Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: Block Building/Language
- empty boxes (cereal boxes, pasta boxes, jewelry boxes, mailing and postal boxes, cracker boxes, clean milk cartons, and so on)
- shelf area or plastic crates for storing boxes
- camera and film
Objective: Children will develop problem-solving, literacy, and mathematical and science skills as they engage in cooperative learning experiences using a variety of recycled boxes to build structures.
In Advance: Send a note home to families explaining your plans for creating a block area using a variety of recycled boxes. Ask families to donate empty boxes and washed milk cartons.
1 Explain to the children that you have begun to collect different types of boxes so they can use them as building blocks. Place several boxes on the floor or table. Invite each child to have a turn stacking the boxes.
2 Find an area in the classroom to store the boxes. Ask the children to sort the boxes: "Let's place the smallest boxes here" or "Can you find the pasta boxes and the cereal boxes and place them in two separate groups?"
3 Count the different types of boxes in each sorted group and create a graph on a large sheet of paper. How many boxes were collected? How many cereal boxes do we have? How many boxes have lids? Encourage the children to list other categories that describe the boxes by differences and similarities.
4 Invite the children to use the boxes as blocks. Encourage children to work alone or cooperatively in small groups. Take photographs of the children's box structures to share with the children and families. Invite parents to visit and play with heir child in the box-block area.
Literacy: Read Simon and His Boxes by Gilles Tibo (Tundra Books, 1996; $5.99) to the children. Follow the reading with a discussion about Simon's experiences with boxes. Ask the children to think of things they could build with their boxes. Invite small groups of children to build with the boxes. When the children have completed their box project, invite them to write a story about it. Photograph each group's building. Create a book with the children's photographs and stories. Invite the children to think of a title for their book.