- Lite Brites and Lumimos: Kids will spend a long time designing with these, and they practice fine motor skills, patterning, and geometry. If you have the design sheets for the Lite Brite, they also practice initial letter sounds. I have a Lite Brite Cube, which should allow four kids to play at once but is maxed out at three and best with two. I also have two Lumimos. Lumimos are currently on clearance at the Lakeshore Learning outlet in San Leandro.
- Skittles: This is a fun (loud) table game. The kids practice turn-taking, fine motor skills, motor planning and adding. I drag the Skittles board out after January, since I've found before then their motor skills are not up to wrapping the tops. This is also a great way to check if your tables are exactly leveled.
- Hammer and Nails. I start the kids with a practice board before they graduate to wood scraps and real tools. I also have goggles and gloves. Hammering is a skill you must teach; I have had any number of students whose caregivers confirm that they hammer at home who still use methods that lead to broken fingers and puncture wounds. Still, it's possible to be very serious about untoward consequences without being scary, and everyone should be able to hang a picture. This is a great activity for motor planning and creativity. Over the year, I also teach kids how to sand and stain wood - there used to be a FOSS science module on this, but it's been added in a reduced form to the Trees unit.
08 July 2011
All Toys are Learning Toys
Since I've been teaching for awhile, I've been able to experiment with lots of different toys and games. Some haven't worked out, either because they are too messy (Moon Sand) or breakable (foam puzzles). Others have been surprising hits: