Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs

Activites, Child Led Play, Development / Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Back in January I wrote about exploring building concepts with Picasso Tiles and I am finally ready to add a squeal. This time we have been exploring building concepts with Lincoln Logs! The past few months we didn’t just focus on Lincoln Logs, we still explored and played with Picasso Tiles, Pattern Blocks, Legos, Bristle Blocks, and Squigz. The building concepts we master with one medium transfer to other mediums.

The magnets are easier to build with than Lincoln Logs because they stick to each other and don’t wobble as much. I prefer to get magnets and Legos out more frequently because our friends are still learning and refining their fine motor and building skills. I do like getting the Lincoln Logs and other building materials out because it challenges the children in their building and creativity.

Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers

Building with Lincoln Logs

When we first started building with Lincoln Logs, similar to the magnets, the buildings were very flat.  To be honest, a lot of the children still build flat without adult guidance, that just tells me I don’t bring Lincoln Logs out enough for the children to really explore and build.


Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers

Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers


With scaffolding we have been able to build houses and barns. We usually build as a group while I help scaffold for a few reason. We can practice taking turns, compromising how we want the building to look, and they still get practice building! I allow them to put the pieces on because the children should get the practice. I’ll ask, “Where should this go?” “Where are you going to put this on?” By asking questions, they are able to pause and work on their analyzing skills and spatial awareness.


Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers

Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers

Loose-Parts with Lincoln Logs

I love adding extra bits into our play as well. They allow they children to step into more dramatic play while they build. They begin to play together and talk to each other when the other is upset. Sometimes I will ask them what extra bits they want while other times I’ll provide a material because I want to get a specific learning objective across. There are times I provide a material just to see what they do with it. Most of the time they do something I don’t expect them to.

Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers

Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers

Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers


I think the most difficult part of building with Lincoln Logs is making it stable. If the base isn’t solid (most of the time it isn’t) it topples over. However, like I said in my first post about exploring building concepts: if they never fail, they’ll never learn how to fix their mistakes. As they are building I see what is wrong, but I don’t step in to fix it just to make it easier for them. I let them fail.



I let them fail because they get frustrated. Once they are frustrated I can help them through that emotion and we can problem solve and think about what went wrong. Two things happen when they fail: 1. Frustration. 2. Problem Solving.

Little children (and maybe adults too) become frustrated and decide to give up. My goal is to build perseverance which is also why I don’t tell them how to fix things. As adults start to tell children how to do something, they don’t always think for themselves.

As we problem solve we talk through how to build it. I will talk about how they are building and what they are doing to help make connections and remind them of how they decided to fix their problem. Most of the time it takes at least ten fails to make connections to solve the problem. It is all worth it when they succeed and have the biggest smile and cheer for themselves!

 Exploring Building Concepts: Lincoln Logs | Playland Preschoolers


I am excited to watch them grow in their success building with Lincoln Logs. I strongly believe that as long as they are exposed to a material they will continue to grow and go beyond what I think is “developmentally appropriate”.

Success is always determined by the child, not the adult.

Once again, thank you for reading! Let me know your favorite building materials below in the comments! Do you allow your children to fail?

If you enjoyed this, check out these other bloggers!

The Repurposed Nanny – She has bits of everything from DIY, Lifestyle, Kids, Recipes, and Decor.

Fairy Dust Teaching – A preschool teacher who teaches with a Reggio mindset. I LOVE her classroom set up that she shares.

Inquiring Minds – This is a kindergarten blog that also focuses on Reggio teachings. I enjoy browsing through her blog.

The Kavanaugh Report – This is a Montessori blog. Nicole, the author, is a mother of young children and exposes them to practical life skills such as cutting with a knife at age 1.


Please, don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss a post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.