Big names started with little blocks

Children's building blocks provide an opportunity to experiment with form and flow and many aspects of architecture and structural engineering - at very early ages. A child can test his imagination to the limits of the stacking and arranging that the blocks will allow. Frank Lloyd Wright was one famous architect who commented that he satisfied his early interest in building structures by playing with Frobel blocks. Frobel blocks are the wooden building blocks of uniform scale relationships developed by Friedrich Frobel in the 1830s for children to learn the elements of geometric form, mathematics and creative design. "The maple-wood blocks... are in my fingers to this day," said Frank Lloyd Wright, attesting to the influence of the Froebel blocks on his work.

Frank Gehry is another world-renowned architect talks about playing with wooden building blocks that his grandmother salvaged from a lumberyard. Gehry created such architectural masterpieces as the Guggenheim Bilbao, Vitra Museum in Germany, The Walt Disney Concert Hall, and others.

Different types of blocks, whether wooden, foaminterlocking, large or small, all have different properties and give a child a different set of variables with which to create and solve challenges. Give them a set and watch how long blocks can keep them occupied.

Gwynn Torres
Chief Imagination Officer
The Creativity Institute

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