Most people think of printables as just basic worksheets. But printables can be used in a variety of ways. When combined with educational toys, you have taken what could have been a basic worksheet and created play-based learning.
Many printable packs are printed out, laminated, cut, have Velco applied, and then used to create busy books for young children to use repeatedly. These activities can provide further engagement by introducing a variety of educational product into play.
Some common educational toys and products for preschoolers include:
- Preschool size building bricks
- Counting bears
- Dot markers
- Play money
- Math cubes
- Magnetic letters
- Plastic shapes
- Shape, alphabet, and number puzzles
- And many more!
Printable packs can be used with many of these toys to create enhanced learning experiences. We created Print and Play Packs specifically to provide parents and teachers with structured and organized activities for use with various educational toys.
Our Learning with Building Blocks pack includes printables that are used with preschool sized building bricks, such as Lego Duplo blocks. We recommend THESE blocks as an alternative, that are compatible with Lego Duplos, because of the large size of the set and the more economical price. But you are welcome to use any similar sized blocks containing five colors - red, blue, yellow, green, and orange.
In this pack, children start out learning about different colors through the different colors of blocks. Sheets are then presented with pictures of blocks and children are asked to place the corresponding matching block on top of each block picture.
Next comes sorting blocks by color. Each color has a sorting sheet so children can sort the blocks into the appropriate color group. Individual blocks are placed on each of these color sheets.
Children learn about long and short blocks, then sort blocks by their length.
Learning numbers follows with three pages of learning sheets showing children the number and corresponding quantity of blocks.
Once children have learned these numbers and quantities, they have an opportunity to count sets of blocks and placing the correct number to the quantity of blocks. These sheets are designed to have children place individual blocks on the picture outlines to assist them in counting using real objects.
Visual-spatial skills are Important for copying block patterns. These copy the blocks sheets allow children to use building bricks to copy the color patterns from block pictures.
Finally, children combine their knowledge of colors and numbers for the find the blocks activities. These sheets ask children to find a certain number of blocks of a specific color, such as four orange blocks or seven blue blocks.
By combining colors and numbers, children must use their knowledge of two different concepts to complete the tasks. This encourages higher order thinking skills.
This set is just one example of how you can take preschool toys and use them to teach educational concepts. The advantage of using these building bricks is there are so many ways children can play with these blocks beyond what’s included in these printables. Some additional suggested activities for your child with these building bricks include:
- Build separate towers and structures out of one color of block.
- Build and compare “tall” and “short” towers.
- Build a large structure with the multiple colors of blocks. When they take it apart, count the number of blocks of each color that was used to build that structure.
- Build a tower of blocks and build a duplicate tower with the same color and size of blocks.
- Free play with blocks to encourage their creative building of structures
As you can see, there are endless ways for children to learn just from play with preschool building bricks. These types of blocks were a favorite of my girls when they were little. So much so that my 13-year-old still asks for regular sized Lego sets to assemble! I also loved giving these blocks to preschoolers just to see the many imaginative ways they used them in play.
It was my love of these blocks that prompted me to create the Learning with Building Blocks Print and Play Pack. I believe that having organized sheets of learning activities can help guide parents and teachers to specific play-based learning tasks for young children.
Print and Play Packs provide children with easy ways to incorporate popular toys into fun learning experiences. Building blocks continue to be a favorite toy for children of all ages, which provides a perfect opportunity to encourage learning.
Looking for more print and play ideas? Check out our entire collection HERE.