Manipulatives come in so many different shapes and sizes and offer up a fantastic range of learning opportunities for early childhood development. Maria Cantillana shares her experience with one of our favorite sets, the Geo Block Build! Her kids amazed us all as they used a typical manipulative set to not only work through some fundamental skills, but instinctively engaged in open-ended play-based creativity and fun!
When we received our set of Geo Block Build I was excited to see how my kids would use this toy. I found that it is not only a creative toy, but also a useful one because it’s one that both my kids can play with together. My 5-year-old daughter built fairy houses and began to tell stories of the fairies that could live in them, while my 4-year-old son built a road that would drive to the fairy houses! Parents who have multiple kids know that sometimes it is hard to find toys that keep all the kids entertained and in one place—this did the job.
The following day I left the Geo Block Build set on our Constructive Playthings manipulative table and watched to see what my kids would do on their own. My son decided on standing the wood color pieces as dominoes. Over and over he kept standing the pieces up until he could knock over a tower he built with the colorful blocks in the tray! Afterwards, he took the same pieces to build a city for his Legos.
I Iove open-ended toys because all you need to do is leave them out and let your child’s imagination run wild. There are no rules on how the toy needs to be used, so on any given day, it can be a city with roads, a house with furniture, or even a train track! Open-ended toys are also incredible learning tools that can be used during play. If your child is working on counting, you can use each piece as a counter. If they are working on a specific letter, you can help them figure out how to build the letter with the pieces. Your child doesn’t need to know they are learning, just that they are having fun!
Wedgits 3-D Builders - IMA-015
Earth, Wind, and Water Blocks - MTC-628
Building on Resources - TAK-1
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