One of those ways relies on a tried-and-true part of playtime, building blocks, and when you add adults to the equation, youve got a partnership in play thatll pay dividends for years to come. Families explored that partnership recently at the Sauk Valley Community College, Illinois in the United States, where both kids and adults learned a little something during Block Fest, and the older students helped the younger ones build skills that will last them through grade school and beyond. Northern Illinois Universitys Centre for P-20 Engagement and Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development brought Block Fest to Sauk to demonstrate the skills that can be learned from stacking, sorting and creating with non-interlocking blocks and while playing with blocks might seem simple, theres more to it than that. Janice Jones, Sauks assistant professor of education, said the programme, originally created at the University of Idaho, helps children as young as eight months, all the way up to eight years, develop early maths skills. The idea is there are stages of block play that kids advance through developmentally, Jones said. Just giving kids the opportunity to play with blocks or other items, like cardboard boxes and Tupperware containers, and to build and try different things, helps them build maths skills. Whats more, those blocks provide the foundation on which kids can build increasingly complex skills from one year to the next, all the way to high school.