Sunday, March 6, 2011

hebel blocks at the preschool woodwork table

For all I know, the joys of hebel blocks and tools with young children is common knowledge but it was completely new to me, and new to this bunch of children.

Hebel is a building material that is light weight, soft and easy to carve making it the perfect medium for novice tool users and small hands to practice their skills and achieve the very satisfying feeling of success. 

For younger children sawing wood can be frustrating and require a fair bit of teacher assistance.  Because Hebel is a whole lot easier to saw through the kids could see they were making progress and getting results and engaged with the experience for extended lengths of time. 

Persisting with the task gave them more time to practice the back and forward motion; to work out how to keep fingers away from the blade; and to be proud of their efforts.

Because the nails hammered in easier than with wood, more of the children were able to start themselves off with the nails.  They could also remove them easily.

The files were popular to round off edges and make interesting ridges and indentations in the blocks:

The Hebel blocks started to look like sculptures:

One of my lovely colleagues says that you can buy Hebel blocks at Bunnings for around $15 each.  

Note:  Working with Hebel can be a dusty business so you will need to have face masks on hand for the children.


  1. I have never heard of these Hebel blocks Jenny. I've really got to get down to Bunnings and check them out!
    Donna :) :)

  2. I've never hear of these either. How fascinating. I'm off to find a UK source.

  3. Apparently our preschool is partly built of them. Never knew!

  4. They look fantastic. If you find a UK source, please tell us, Juliet!

  5. Heble is aerated concrete and a lovely medium to work with if you're new to sculpture. I hadn't thought about giving it to little ones to play with though!

    It also takes colours really well so dipping, painting and pouring food coloring/poster paint works well too.