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February’s WTP All-Star Toy is Magna-Tiles. This toy is a perfect way to get your little moving, building, and creating. This month we’ve put together some of our favorite activities and ideas we have to utilize this toy to provide purposeful play opportunities in your home. We hope you enjoy!
1. Shape Matching and Tracing
Magna-tiles can be a great way to introduce and talk about shapes with your little one! They can practice identifying, sorting, and even tracing them. Here, we used the dishwasher as a vertical surface to trace the tiles and encouraged Chloe to match them up.
We color-coded the shapes as an additional hint and only provided the correct shapes as options. Depending on your child’s age and language abilities, you can easily adjust the complexity of this activity; to make the task more simple, ask questions like, “Where’s the square?” or “Which one is up so hight?” Your child can answer by pointing to the tile. To make the task more challenging, you can create a sequencing activity (e.g., first match the yellow square, then match the green triangle), and talk about size and location of the shapes (e.g., the big red square is under the long purple triangle).
For an extra step in complexity, we tried our best to create “animals” comprised of multiple shapes. We added a scene for our animal creations so that we could discuss things like the bird flying through the sky, the boat sailing in the water, the mommy fish swimming with her babies and their seahorse friend, and the sun shining down on everyone.
2. Fishing and Sorting
We love any excuse to fish in this house! We made a fishing pole with a strong magnet on the end. Have your little practice catching these colorful “fish” and bring back last month’s painter’s tape to practice sorting! You can also have them sort by shape as well. For little ones who are just beginning to learn about colors, simply comment on their actions and encourage matching by saying things like, “You caught a purple fish! Where does the purple fish go?”
For an extra challenge of strength and balance, add something squishy under their feet and call it a “boat”! (See couch cushion pictured above).
3. Road Building
Is your little motivated by cars? Practice building roads, tunnels, and jumps!
As you build and play, talk about things like what piece should be next, where it should go, if the car should be fast or slow, where the car is going, and what it will do when it gets there.
4. Introduction to Board Games
Find a die and a few small characters and make your own board game. This is a great way to practice counting and introducing the concept of a basic board game. Here, Woody, Bo Peep, and Buzz are racing to the space ship!
5. Free, Unstructured, Creative Play!
This is our Walk, Talk, Play Public Service Announcement: Although we love bringing you different ideas for purposeful play to promote development, some of the best play happens when it is free, unstructured, and with friends!
We hope you enjoyed this article and have fun with this in your homes. If you do any of these activities, or have other ideas, please tag us or share!