The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Local Education

April 24, 2014

Learning block by block

Creativity, teamwork, problem solving skills involved in playtime

PENDLETON — More than 45 toddlers and parents came to the Pendleton Public Library on Thursday to play with blocks. Although that seems like a fairly normal, everyday activity, the children were learning skills that will help them down the road.

Robin Williams, of the Madison County Purdue Extension office, was in charge of the event and instructed the parents and children on how the block party worked. The most important thing for her was making sure the children could play how they wanted.

"There are so many toys and TV shows now that direct what to do," Williams said. "With blocks children can be creative and do whatever they want."

The idea of the day was to simply let the children play with blocks. The activities room at the library was filled with wood blocks, large blocks the size of bricks, foam bricks and small square blocks. The children got a turn at every station over the course of the hour-long program.

Stacy Milburn, whose son Sam comes to the library for story readings, said she was impressed with the library's program. Not only did Sam enjoy the various blocks, his mom said it was good for him to interact with other children since he is an only child.

Social interaction is just one of the many advantages of having a block party, Williams said. She said playing with blocks also helps with motor skills, problem solving, creativity and teamwork.

Having parents come and play with their kids was also an important part of the process.

"We wanted to create an environment where the parents or caregivers are engaged with the child," Williams said. "That's very important for children."

Peggy Lyons, the children's director at the library, said she read about the block party program and instantly wanted to host one. She said the program coincides nicely with what the children's department tries to do for all of their activities. The most important thing for them is the interaction between children and parents.

Follow Zach Osowski on Twitter @Osowski_THB, or call 640-4847.

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