Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Product Review: Playmags 3D Magnetic Building Blocks

I first noticed Playmags on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea of them. Playmags are coloured transparent tiles of different shapes and size with magnets around the edging allowing the tiles to be stuck together to build amazing structures. 

We have been enjoying Playmags in our setting over the last few months. When they first arrived we decided to use them a resource which would be kept at the children’s height to allow them continual access to use alongside other loose pieces. We had no idea how popular the Playmags would be but the children have been using them in a wide variety of ways every day since we first received them from Designs For Education.

Playmags can be ordered in 100 or 150 pieces and come with instructions on how to build some simple structures. We used these instructions as a way to get the children used to using them which to start with were a little frustrating for them.

After a while the children came up with their own way of playing with the tiles, building the tallest of towers and a train track around the room.

A few weeks on and the Playmags have started to be incorporated in play with other materials and used in a range of ways. Watching how the children use the tiles to make their own art has been the most interesting to me. They worked out that they could use the tiles to mix colours and create interesting shapes on the light table, through a window or reflecting onto the floor.

The Playmags have been a wonderful addition to the resources in our setting and as robust quality toys I’m sure their uses will continue to expand. They have proven to be great resources in helping children’s spatial awareness, problem solving abilities, logical thinking and mathematical reasoning.

Playmags are available from Designs For Education from £77.00

Monday, 18 August 2014

10 Fun Transport Activities

I have been lucky to have a few new starters in my home day care this year and they have all been boys aged between 8 months and 11 months. So now they are getting older and their interests all seem to involve a love for transport! 

They love to watch the traffic on the school run's  and point out the vehicles which stand out to them. We have also incorporated this interest into their activities back at the setting including some of the ideas we have tried below, a mixture of my ideas and some from other blogs.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Under The Sea Play Dough

Play dough is a great resource for to have in the house, it's wonderfully versatile and can help children develop skills in all areas of learning. As a Childminder I love that play dough is great for a wide range of ages, even when they are all up the table together each child is imaging some thing quite different going on. 

I use a basic no cook play dough recipe which lasts roughly a week in the fridge. Allowing your children to have the choice over the week to get the play dough out means that children are able to reinforce what they are learning through this play. 

Even little ones will love playing with play dough and watching the mark and changes they can make with their hands whilst developing their hand eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills. By now Tinnies imagination has started to develop and his has shown signs of play objects representing other things such as phones, he also enjoys small world play so I think this is a nice way to continues supporting his imagination, Tinnie is now 20 months old.
Meanwhile Little man had fun making different marks in the play dough using the shells and different sea animals. He played hiding the animal prints under shells and asking me to guess what animals had been asleep underneath the shells. 

To make your own under the sea play dough activity try adding items such as 
  • Plastic sea animals, 
  • Tin foil,
  • Cabbage, 
  • Large stones,
  • Dried coral, 
  • Shells
and let their imagination take them under the sea!
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