Our Favourite Toy

I wanted to share with you the toy that has consistently been a favourite in our house.  I’ve been doing daycare for over a year now and Magna Tiles have always been the most played with toy with all ages.  They get pull out pretty much every day.

Pumpkin 1's "Castle"

Pumpkin 1’s “Castle”

Building toys are great open ended toys.  They are listed as for ages 3 and up but I’ve found younger children like them too.  They’re perfectly safe to have around babies as unless they were stomped on in heavy shoes, then only, maybe, would the magnets come out.  Pumpkin 1 loves playing with them, though she does get frustrated as her “castle” can collapse easily.  If I put the two corner pieces on, she can build the rest.  She loves playing with them in spite of her frustration.  And her fine motor skills are developing as she builds with them.  They can build houses, castles, cars, or just do designs.  They can also try to copy a picture or a structure you made to develop their spatial reasoning.  Here are some more of the structures Pumpkin 1 and a 2 1/2 year old daycare child built by themselves.

Showing you the door

Showing you the door

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These are durable and washable which is always a plus in my books.  The clear ones can be used on a light panel also.  I had only a small set for the last year but I recently bought another one as there wasn’t enough pieces for multiple children to play.  I wish now that I had bought the large set.  Even the older children, age 10, like playing with them.  I like building with them too.  They’re a little expensive but they’ll last probably until your grandchildren and for the hours and hours of play we’ve gotten out of them already, they’re totally worth it.

Click on the pictures below if you’re interested in purchasing a set for your children.

Small set

Valtech Co. Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 32 Piece Set

Large set

Valtech Magna-Tiles 04300 Clear Colors - 100 Pc Set Value Pack

Update:

I’m more and more amazed at the structures Pumpkin 1 is building with the Magna Tiles.  She’s 28 months.  This is what she built today all on her own.

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Waldorf Style Rocker Board Review

I was so excited to give this gift to my daughter (and son, though he’s only 6 months) for Hanukkah.  I didn’t even have to show Pumpkin 1 how to use it, she figured out right away how to make it rock.  “Wee wee, wee weee” she did it for quite a while.  I turned it over and she then had fun sliding down it.

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These are amazing, open ended toys that will give your child hours of fun.  Too often in Montessori we focus on the fine motor skills, but the gross motor skills are important too, especially for preschoolers.  A rocker board, also called a moon board or a balance board, is a great way for children to develop their balance and gross motor skills.  In the winter we don’t get outside to play as much as we should and so I was looking for ways for Pumpkin 1 to be active indoors.  The board can be a slide, a chair, a bed, a teeter-totter, a bridge, a cradle, a boat, a wall, the imagination is endless.  And it’ll grow with your child.  It’s a toy all ages will love (I even tried it out myself 😉 ).

My little gypsy crawling under it.

My little gypsy crawling under it.

A good place for a nap

A good place for a nap

Pumpkin 1’s favourite is to make it a bed (she’s all about pretending to sleep) and I have to rock it and sing Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

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Row, row, row your boat

The board is made from plywood laminated into a curve and can withstand 145lbs of pressure.  The boards’ edges are all rounded and they are finished with either a scratch resistant polyurethane varnish or a natural, non-toxic shellac varnish.  I choose the shellac finish.  It’s very sturdy and durable and will last for years and years.

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This is one toy you won’t regret purchasing.  If you google it you’ll see tons of excellent reviews for rocker boards.  And here’s the great news.  Tim at “The Carpenter’s Son’s Apprentice” is offering a discount to my readers!  He’s got a wonderful online store http://www.thecarpenterssonsapprentice.ca/index.html  He is really great to purchase from with amazing customer service and fast shipping. This is a bonus for my Canadian readers as I haven’t seen these boards available anywhere else in Canada and shipping from the U.S. is expensive.  He also ships to the U.S. for my American readers.  There’s still time to have it for Christmas if you hurry.  Here’s the link for the promo:  http://www.thecarpenterssonsapprentice.ca/Store/Store-MoonRockers-PumpkinsPromo.html