The Building Gifts
Gifts Three and Four: from ages 4 to 13 years; or children in Kindergarten, Connecting School & Academy.
Gifts Three and Four are the beginning of the Building Gifts. The solid shape of the cube from Gift Two is now divided. This contrast intrigues the child who plays easily with it. They take it apart, arrange it many different ways and put it back together again. Froebel said that, "all children have the desire to build, and to build a house is a universal form of unguided play".
"Prominent features of this Gift are the likeness of each part of the cube to the whole, and the contrast of size between the cube and its parts. The chief object of the Gift is to develop the creative power of the child; so that he is encouraged to follow his instinctive wish to see the construction of things, and begins his investigation of particular phenomena. He divides the cube to find its component parts and examines the pieces. He finds that each part is like a whole, only smaller, so that the impression of this particular form is deepened; he can create many forms and by re-arranging discover new qualities and uses.
The material allows the child to express outwardly his inner conceptions, which is one of the first demands of life. The desire to look at the interior of things is the germ of the fullest development, the beginning of the formation of the scientific mind." Quoted from: Paradise of Childhood by: Edward Wiebe, pg. 104.
Gift Three consists of eight one inch wooden cubes in a box. Froebel chose this amount of blocks, "because of their suitability for mathematics, eight being the cube of the first integer greater than one." Quoted from: Intimate Triangle: Architecture of Crystals, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Froebel Kindergarten By: Jeanne Spielman Rubin pg. 98.