Blocks as a Tool for Learning: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Article on Blocks by Karen Hewitt (pdf)

This is an article on the history of blocks as a toy and learning device. To summarize, block toys were initially created with the intent of adding fun to learning the alphabet (alphabet blocks came before other types.) Eventually, pioneers in children’s education decided that teaching open ended problem solving was a better use of the block, and letters were scrapped in favor of different sizes and shapes. There’s also a brief mention of gender stereotypes, and the article suggests that marketing these types of toys to boys and not girls influenced the gender divide in engineering and other constructive fields of study we see today

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