A note about “construction”
There are four general active types of construction (and one passive) . Each gives the builder an insight into the general or specific structure of a model.
1. Construction is the act of building or constructing something, creating something new or, with the aid of directions/instructions, making a copy of an existing model.
2. Deconstructionis the act of tearing down or taking a model or construction apart, splitting it down so that it is ready to be rebuilt or so that the individual elements can be built into something new.
3. Reconstruction is rebuilding, reconstructing a familiar model or figure.
4. Co-constructionis connecting several ready-built models or reusing model parts from different models.
As the fifth point, construction is also the act of imagining, dreaming about, observing, interpreting, making strategies or “texting” how a model could be constructed. Reading a building instruction or manual is mental construction.
The basic principles of all construction play are outlined below. There are four active and one passive form. They develop in degree of difficulty corresponding to the age and development of the child:
- stacking/riveting: from six months - stacking bricks vertically or putting elements together horizontally
- authentic copying: from three years - building an exact copy of something the child is familiar with in his surroundings using building elements
- concrete modelling: from 3-4 years - trying to shape or form a familiar figure or object in a readily available material: clay, modelling clay, mud, pastry, sand or with the classical wooden or LEGO
- diffusesampling: from 5-6 years - construction or putting (often very different) objects or elements together in a diffuse or abstract way, resulting in a diffuse or abstract model.
Common to all four constructive play forms is that they are visible, active processes. Yet even here (as in the fifth form), the invisible, so-called passive mental processes (they are in fact pretty active!) are part of play as logical and/or creative thought in imagining the construction process.