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We all know that blocks are great for creative play, but what about for writing? Yes, indeedy! Blocks can be super starters for creative writing. Here are two ideas for how to use blocks at home or in the classroom to get the juices flowing. (Hint: blocks aren’t just good for the little ones, either. Dump a pile of Legos on the floor in a high school English classroom and watch the students come to life!)
Write or type basic words on paper, cut out the words, and tape them on the sides of big Lego Duplo blocks (the larger toddler-sized variety). Then, children can combine the blocks, lay them out, and build them up in creative ways to make sentences and stories! You can even color-coordinate the blocks by part of speech, so all nouns are on yellow blocks, all verbs are on blue blocks, all adjectives are on green blocks, all proper nouns are on red blocks, etc. Students can also suggest their own words. It’s like a 3-D game of Madlibs…and “writing” possibilities are endless!
For printable lists of sight (Dolch) words to use as starters, check out: www.mrsperkins.com/dolch.htm
Create a World
Allow students access to a large variety of blocks or Legos. Instruct them to build a house or building and then write a story about that structure. Who lives there? What do they do? Look like? Enjoy? Struggle with? Students can also write descriptive paragraphs about their structure’s imaginary world. Is it in our country? Is it on earth?
Students love the opportunity to play with blocks during “writing” time, and being creative with their hands often leads to creativity with words, as well. Not to mention the positive associations fostered around writing. This may be the “fun” activity that they need to prove to them that writing is accessible…and enjoyable.
Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed. has a bachelors in education from The University of Georgia and a masters in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University, Cambridge. In addition to being the editor of A Learning Experience, she publishes Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Magazine. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, and a frisky Westie named Munson.