Watercolor blocks and benefits of block play

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Here in our home we love our blocks!  ‘What kids can create from them always amazes me to no end!   I’m always impressed to see my boys cleverly designing grand buildings, towers and garages of great structure and creativity.

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Of course building with blocks helps their little brains grow and develop, and while one could certainly draw the conclusion that perhaps my little ones would gain enough spatial capacity to go on to become famous engineers they could equally go on to become wonderful little artists of their time—- as block play uses both left and right brain abilities. 

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Our un-schooling life allows us the freedom for tons of block play!  I love watching the two little brothers make believe lot’s of little stories and play so sweetly together.  Other benefits of block play are; Spatial skills, math skills, fine and gross motor  skill development, hand eye coordination development, creative and divergent problem solving skills, cooperative skills and even language development.

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Grimm’s Fairy tale blocks courtesy of Little slices of green

Clearly you can learn a lot of different life skills just from the very simple act of block play.  For a lot more information on block play as well as a host of other great parenting topics please visit the website the Parenting Science

We have a simple set of Haba blocks that get used often, I love the plain color of them as it always allows hours of imaginative play, but I also love these marvelous colorful ones my husband got on a business trip to Delft NL, some years back.

Feeling like we need to add to our block stash I decided homemade was the way to go.

materials NEEDED:
2X4 PIECE OF WOOD OF YOUR CHOICE (WE CHOSE PINE FOR OUR STARTER SET, BUT YOU COULD UPGRADE TO MAPLE OR OAK FOR MORE ADVANCED WOODWORKING SKILLS)
A POWER SANDER OR BELT SANDER
A CIRCULAR SAW
WATERCOLORS
BEESWAX OR MINERAL OIL

First You take your 2×4 and sand all sides smooth with the belt sander/power sander then  mark where you want to make the cuts, you can make longer blocks, shorter ones, even slices!  This is where you can get creative!

Bring the piece outside, and proceed to (very carefully) cut your wood in the marked places.

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After cutting the wood sand the newly exposed sides well, with a sander (it works well if you have a vice onto which you can rest the block in while sanding)Once the blocks are smooth you can bring them inside to paint.

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Enlist lot’s of little hands to get the job done quick!

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Paint as fun and funky as you like!  We choose simple watercolors for their soothing effect on the senses, as well as the transparent beauty the envelopes the natural wood. 

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After the paint (or marker) is dry, lightly rub with beeswax or a non-toxic oil and let dry again.  Once dry to the touch get those blocks into those little hands and watch the magic unfold!

May you enjoy the uncomplicated hours of block play with your little ones!!

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