The Froebel ® Blocks

froebel blocks

When Friedrich Froebel established the first system for educating young children, he created a series of playthings to provide children with focussed educational experiences. Up until that time, toys were intended for amusement and education was provided through books and instruction. Froebel's Kindergarten used play as its engine and his Spielgabe (or "play gifts") were the fuel. During his lifetime he codified the series of Froebel Gifts up through Gift 7 (parquetry tablets). After his death in 1852, his followers extended the series of educational toys by numbering other materials used in his school.

Froebel Gifts 2 through 6 (aka "the Building Gifts") are wood blocks in various shapes and quantities. Known more commonly as the Froebel Blocks, these toys were made famous in the USA by the Milton Bradley Company. Milton Bradley himself was a strong advocate of the Froebel method. Josef Albers, Charles Eames, Buckminster Fuller, Johannes Itten, Paul Klee, and Frank Lloyd Wright are famous examples of children educated with the Froebel materials. The stone version of Froebel Blocks made in Germany by the Anker Steinbaukasten GmbH factory (founded by Adolf Richter, a wealthy businessman in Froebel's village of Rudolstadt) were a favorite toy of Albert Einstein.

Attend the next Froebel USA conference and see trained teachers demonstrate Froebel Gifts and the authentic method.

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  • Froebel Gift 2

    froebel gift 2

    While often misunderstood, Froebel's second Gift is the key to understanding the meaning of the Froebel materials. It was intend to demonstrate the interconnectedness of form and materials. As Gift 1 is the yarn ball, Gift 2 includes a wood sphere, cylinder and cube. read more …

  • Froebel Gifts 3-6

    froebel gift 2

    The majority of the Buliding Gifts are divisions of the wood cube from Gift 2. Gift 3 divides the two-inch cube in 8 smaller cubes, Gift 4 changes the form slightly by dividng into 8 oblong bricks (1" x .5" by 1"). Gifts 5 introduces the triangular prism, while Gift 6 offers a variety of rectilinear shapes. read more …

  • Other Froebel Blocks

    froebel divided cylinder

    Other block shapes were used in Froebel's original Kindergarten. While Froebel never specified them as a "spielgabe," his followers brought these materials with them to the USA. In the 1880's, Milton Bradley began producing the Curvilinear Gift and Divided Cylinder sets promoted by Minnie Glidden of the Pratt Institute. read more …