- Toy block
Toy blocks (also building bricks, or simply blocks), are
wooden, plasticor foampieces of various shapes (square, cylinder, arch, triangle, etc.) and colors that are used as building toys. Sometimes toy blocks depict letters of the alphabet.
1693: Alphabet Nursery Blocks were originally developed in 17th century England. The philosopher
John Locke, in 1693, made the statement that "dice and playthings, with letters on them to teach children the alphabet by playing" would make learning to read a more enjoyable experience. [cite web | title = The History of Alphabet Blocks | publisher = Nuttybug | url = http://www.nuttybug.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=988 | accessdate = 2008-02-14]
Witold Rybczynskihas found that the earliest mention of building bricks for children appears in Maria and R.L. Edgeworth's "Practical Education" ( 1798). Called "rational toys," blocks were intended to teach children about gravityand physics, as well as spatial relationships that allow them to see how many different parts become a whole. [ Witold Rybczynski, "", 2006]
1820: The first large-scale production of blocks was in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn by S. L. Hill, who patented "ornamenting wood" a patent related to painting or coloring a block surface prior to the embossing process and then adding another color after the embossing to have multi-colored blocks. [cite web | title = The History of Alphabet Blocks | publisher = Nuttybug | url = http://www.nuttybug.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=988 | accessdate = 2008-02-14]
1850: During the mid-nineteenth century,
Henry Cole(under the pseudonymof Felix Summerly) wrote a series of children’s books. Cole's "A book of stories from The Home Treasury" included a box of terracottatoy blocks and, in the accompanying pamphlet"Architectural Pastime.", actual blueprints.
National Toy Hall of Fameat the Strong Museum, inducted ABC blocks into their collection, granting it the title of one of America's toys of national significance. [cite web | title = The History of Alphabet Blocks | publisher = Nuttybug | url = http://www.nuttybug.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=988 | accessdate = 2008-02-14]
*"Physical benefits": toy blocks build strength in a child’s fingers and hands, and improve eye-hand coordination. They also help educate children in different shapes.
*"Social benefits": block play encourages children to make friends and cooperate, and is often one of the first experiences a child has playing with others. Blocks are a benifit for the children because they incourage interaction and imagination. Creativity can be a combined action that is important for social play.
*"Intellectual benefits": children can potentially develop their vocabularies as they learn to describe sizes, shapes, and positions. Math skills are developed through the process of grouping, adding, and subtracting, particularly with standardized blocks, such as
unit blocks. Experiences with gravity, balance, and geometrylearned from toy blocks also provide intellectual stimulation.
*"Creative benefits": children receive creative stimulation by making their own designs with blocks.
In popular culture
Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby, has stated that Gumby's nemeses, the Block-heads, evolved from the blocks that appeared in the toy store that originally provided the setting for the stop-motionseries. [ [http://www.gumbyworld.com/memorylane/histblkhd.htm gumbyworld.com] ]
* [http://www.barclaywoods.com/ Barclay Woods]
* [http://www.woodentoy.com/html/BlocksGoodToy.html Block play: Building a child's mind] , the
National Association for the Education of Young Children
Unit block, a popular standardized wooden toy block
Kapla, a wooden block construction toy
LEGO, a line of popular plastic building toys
Lincoln Logs, a toy consisting of notched miniature logs
Stickle bricks, a plastic construction toy primarily intended for toddlers
Froebel Gifts, a range of educational materials first used in the original Kindergarten
Tinkertoys, rods and wheels.
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