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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET that represent their perspectives. When children think about play, they probably think in terms of actions—for example, running, building, and laughing. This is how I organized the ten play experiences. They are not in any particular order—all are equally important—but the first six categories focus more on young children, toddlers through kindergarteners, and the last four focus more on school-age children, ages six through twelve. 1 • Building with Blocks Building with blocks is first on the list, not because it is the most import- ant play experience but because it is often the most overlooked. Blocks are bulky, clunky, and noisy. They take up too much room on the bedroom floor and they take too long to put away after playing. But the truth is, blocks offer the ultimate multitasking play experience because children have every- thing to gain from block play—they learn about physics, math, engineering, geometry, architecture, and design. Block play develops physical skills such as dexterity and balance. And when children play together with blocks they learn to collaborate, communicate, negotiate, and connect. Even if you take away all the amazing educational and developmental reasons for sitting your child in front of a pile of blocks, there’s still the sim- ple, pure truth that stacking one block on top of another is one of the most satisfying actions a child can do during play. What could be more pleasur- able than taking one plain block and adding to it, turning it into something bigger, taller, higher in the sky with each block you add? The only action more empowering than stacking blocks into a tower is knocking down the whole stack. Block building is not just for boys. Girls can and should be encouraged to construct their own buildings, cities, and worlds. Girls need to know that a toy doesn’t have to be pink in order for a female person to play with it (more on that later). When children create structures out of wooden blocks (or foam blocks, or Lego bricks, or, for that matter, cardboard boxes from the recycling bin), they are constructing more than buildings; they are developing and expand- ing their problem-solving skills and capacity for abstract thought. They are 4 … Introduction COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL