Engineering for Children

Engineering for Children

The Block Book, a classic NAEYC text for early childhood educators, describes the many benefits of block play. Caroline Pratt, founder of the City & Country School in New York City, is credited as creator of the unit block. Pratt’s decision to add blocks to preschools, classrooms, and homes across the country was a direct result of her opinion that life was becoming too complicated for children. Technology should not be made out as the enemy here, but young children need the opportunity to play, learn, explore, and create with material objects, not just screens. In fact, recent studies have shown that children’s social and physical development is at risk from excessive screen interaction. Brackitz’s goal is nothing short of inspiring children to become scientists, artists, architects, and mathematicians, and engineers through unique connect-anywhere block play.

Everything that has ever been built, first required engineering. An engineer is someone who designs and builds, they ask how and why things work, and they explore every possibility. Even if only a relatively small number of children grow up to become engineers, living in a technology-driven society necessitates an understanding of engineering foundations. On the most basic level, engineering requires analytical and empirical processes to create complex systems. It is now common knowledge that the US has a shortage of engineers and that the country is falling behind in technical capability as shown in the following graphic. How do we engage children to be interested in engineering? We start early and make it fun.

Development of play requires adaptable materials that can serve fantasy as well as reality experienceBlocks offer an almost infinite variety of expressive opportunity from floor patterns or designs to veritable engineering feats of bridge building. But blocks remain a means rather than an end in the learning process. (excerpted from The Block Book, pg. 7).

The great thing about Brackitz, and other block-based toys, is that they grow with your child and they become new explorations for children as they age. Playing with Brackitz allows young, pre-school children to develop the foundational concepts of engineering, ultimately fostering their growth in higher grades. Exposing children to engineering concepts in pre-school and elementary school allows them the opportunity to connect their toys to real-world technologies like bridge building, tower construction, and architectural design. The world knows that scientists and engineers are the most suitable agents for solving the world’s challenging global problems and we have shortage of them. Having more engineers and scientists will inevitably lead to better economic health. Encouraging children to play with open-ended toys like Brackitz and other block-based toys enforces the concepts of engineering before they can even learn how to read or write.

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