Sunday, January 22, 2017

Magna-Tiles: They Aren't Just for Building Houses

Three years ago, I wrote this about great toys:

              A well-designed toy is the right toy time and time again. It scaffolds different lessons at different times.
              A well-designed toy has lasting and evolving value in the eyes of a child (and his or her parent, too).

At the time I was writing about wooden blocks. I marveled at all the ways my children used them and how their play with wooden blocks evolved over time.

Well, in our family, Magna-Tiles have had even more staying power than wooden blocks! Here are six surprising ways Magna-Tiles get used in my house.

One: First Exploration of Volume and Shape
This exercise never ceases to amaze me. A child has two Magna-Tiles, puts them together, and takes them apart. Two squares placed side-by-side become a rectangle and then squares again. Two squares placed on top of one another make a small stack, reminiscent of maths lessons in volume and space.

Read the rest at Fat Brain Toys...

Monday, January 9, 2017

How to be Creative When You're Not Creative

Togetherness. We love it. There are few things sweeter than hearing my four-year-old daughter ask, “Mama, will you play with me?”

It usually happens after she has been entertaining herself while I have been cooking. But that is kind of an awkward time because I am tiring out from the work of life and wishing for some downtime at the same time she’s craving attention and running out of her own creative power.

Make the Dolls Talk!
In fact, her request is almost always, “Will you make the dolls talk?”

This type of pretend play is a wonderful and important part of development. The back-and-forth of conversation between the dolls is an important lesson in communication and turn-taking. The subjects we discuss lend themselves well to social-emotional learning. Plus, it is fun.

However, sometimes my daughter is just spent and my job is to bring all the creative power to the play. I have to be creative when I am not feeling creative.

Read the answer at Fat Brain Toys...