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Questions in block play can support social skill development

Questions to use during block play to help children learn and build their social skills.

Blocks

An excellent way to teach, practice and support social skill building with children is by joining them in block play. Practice social skills by playing alongside your child, practicing sharing and using sharing words. Use phrases such as “It’s your turn,” “We can play together,” “Let’s let someone else play too” and “It’s fun to share.” Using fun learning phrases along with thoughtful questioning can help increase social skill building and emotional development. In this series of articles, you will learn some specific questions to use to interact with your child using blocks to increase their developmental skills.

There are many ways to increase social skills by playing with blocks. Playing with blocks can increase the ability to take turns, make choices and develop problem solving. Block play can also lead to increased sharing, expression of feelings and working well with others. As you use blocks to play with your children, it is essential to be aware of some important and fun questions you can ask to support their learning and increasing of social skills.

Questions for learning about sharing with blocks:

  • Let’s build together. How many blocks can we stack before they fall down?
  • Will you hand me the square block (circle, triangle, rectangle, etc.)?
  • Will you hand me the red block (blue, yellow, green, etc.)?
  • Will you share your blocks with me?
  • Would you like to use this square block to build your house? (Use other colors and shapes.)

Questions for learning about feelings with blocks:

  • How does it feel to be building with blocks together?
  • How did it make you feel when your tower was knocked over?
  • Look at how tall your tower is. How do you feel having such a tall tower?
  • How do you think she feels when you take blocks from her?
  • How do you feel when someone takes your blocks from you?

Questions for learning about taking turns with blocks:

  • How about you put your block here and I put my block on top of it and when I’m done you can put another block on top (keep rotating until the tower falls down)?
  • Could you give your brother a turn when you are done with the blocks?
  • How about you build with the blue blocks and I build with the red blocks?

Questions for learning about making choices with blocks:

  • Look at your blocks. What would you like to make with them?
  • Do you want to use the red or green blocks (other colors or shapes)?
  • Would you like to add the square/triangle block to your castle/house?
  • What blocks will work for the roof of your castle/house?

Questions for learning about working together with blocks:

  • Would you like to build a house with me?
  • Would you like to build the tower or hand me the blocks (then switch roles)?
  • How can we work together to build a house/castle/tower?

Questions for learning about problem solving using blocks:

  • How can the both of you/us play with the blocks together?
  • Where should we build the castle so the blocks aren’t all over the floor and nobody gets hurt?
  • How can both of us use these square blocks? What can we build with the square blocks? (Divide the square blocks up so everyone has some.)
  • I see you want to knock down the tower, how can we solve this? (Have them build a tower as tall as they want and then they can knock it down.)

Using any of these questions while playing with blocks can help a child increase their social and emotional skillset. Choosing to purposely develop social skills at an early age can help a child learn to create relationships with other children that can lead to a greater chance of creating long lasting friendships.

Another great spot to search for social skill development resources is PBS Parents. They offer many activities, ideas and articles for social skill building and are a great place to find extra resources for helping children increase their social and emotional development.

For more information on developing social skills, please see these articles provided by Michigan State University Extension:

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