Back in June I told about my father inventing Hollow Blocks in the 1950s. Thanks to each of you who wrote a response! Barbara Kenny’s was typical: “I didn’t know your dad invented the hollow blocks – how wonderful. We use them in my school every day and I always tell people that they are the most open-ended and cost-effective resource you can buy – they never wear out...”
Growing up with Hollow Blocks I certainly enjoyed them, but it was only decades later as a teacher that I fully appreciated their value. I lived in the Catskill Mountains of New York where winters are cold. There were days we could not allow the children outdoors because of the danger of frostbite. However, we had a large indoor space and a huge set of Hollow Blocks. The children would keep busy for two hours at a stretch! Those children have since grown up and some of them are very creative thinkers. I can’t know for sure if Hollow Blocks are responsible for this, but I like to think it played a role. Their play certainly gave them a lot of practice in planning, problem solving and thinking for themselves.
In the I made a unicorn booklet, we conveyed with photos some of the imaginative things that happen with Hollow Blocks. But you really need to try them with children yourself. You will surely make some brand-new discoveries, because children keep finding new ways to use them.
Click here to download our open-ended play booklet