Wednesday, March 25, 2015
The Haba Block and Tackle provides awesome pre-STEM learning, as expected. The children have been learning about size, weight, tippiness (balance), and the power of a pulley. What I wasn't expecting was the lessons in cooperation and communication that it provides.
A huge goal for Autistic children is to learn the back-and-forth of communication. Parents, therapists and other caregivers engineer games to encourage taking turns. And I remember celebrating with another parent when our Autistic children played their first game of catch together...rolling a ball up and down a slide to each other. This type of play comes naturally to my typical child but it is no less important for her.
So when I heard my children talking to each other - one up stairs and one down stairs - joy filled my heart. "Is it ready?" called Mikey. "No, not quite yet!" said Anna. He waited (a small miracle). She finished attaching a toy snake then shouted, "Ok Mikey! It is ready!" He hoisted.
We have a two story house with a cathedral ceiling. A landing at the top of the stairs looks into the play room and was a perfect place for a block and tackle toy. A generous grand parent gave it to us at Christmas time. When we brought the toy home, we drilled into a stud in the ceiling and mounted a heavy-duty eye bolt. The block and tackle was then safe and ready for play.
The pulley system is a huge hit with everyone who comes to play - adults and children alike. It is a novel and powerful machine. But, mounted between two level of house (or treehouse) it also affords practice in communication and cooperation, and that makes the toy priceless for Preschool Engineering.