Saturday, July 23, 2005
Friederich Froebel invented Kindergarten over 150 years ago, and in the process introducing building blocks as an educational toy.
A central part of his revoluionary early childhood education was a series of Kindergarten Gifts, numbers 3 through 6 of which were a series of small building block sets. Each set consisted of a large cube subdivided into smaller component building blocks.
Gift 3, with stunning simplicity and elegance, consists of eight cubes.
When one is used to building block sets of many dozens of blocks, perhaps even hundreds, in multiple shapes and often different colors, it might not seem that eight identical blocks, of the most basic imaginable shape, could provide much entertainment or education, either one. But in fact they do, and exploring their use is highly recommended.
I often carry a small set with me, along with a reproduction of the exercises, to use as a relaxation tool - sort of a mental t'ai chi.
[Recommended: Inventing Kindergartenby Norman Brosterman]