Constraints and Development in Children’s Block Construction

AbstractBlock construction tasks are highly complex, yet even young children engage in these tasks in both informal and formal learning settings. In this paper, we ask whether the specific paths through which children build a structure are unique to the individual, or alternatively, constrained by similar principles across individuals and over age. Our results show that although children between 4 and 8 make frequent errors in copying model constructions, there is a striking amount of consistency in specific attributes of their paths of construction, and this consistency mirrors that of adults. The build paths suggest that although children sometimes build inefficiently, they tend to build layer-by-layer, consistent with a role for intuitive physics that enables the creation of stable structures.

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