influence of Friedrich Froebel
When the philosopher John Locke suggested putting letters of the alphabet on dice, he was probably lamenting the illiteracy of gamblers in the seventeenth century. Three hundred years later games of chance played with dice remain a more popular pastime than reading philosophy.
After Friedrich Froebel introduced the wooden cubes of the third Froebel Gift, the educational value of playing with wooden building blocks was widely recognised. This lead to blocks with letters of the alphabet being extensively marketed in 19th century America as tools to help children to recognize shapes of letters before learning to read.
Grandparents may be delighted by these vividly colored toys with their patterns, letters and numbers. Children and educators usually prefer natural wood blocks . The educational value of blocks derives from their shape and their capacity to be stacked, assembled and built in many diverse and creative ways. Engaging the child in conversation about their play will improve litteracy more than memorising the shapes of capital letters.
secure online ordering of the original Froebel gifts and blocks from The Froebel Gallery.
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