There are so many ways to play with open-ended toys, that is the beauty of them.
We absolutely love the wooden treasures, they look so bright, beautiful and inviting.
They can be used on their own or with other open-ended toys.
Wooden treasures are a natural material and can be used to develop and understand problem solving, fine motor skills, imagination, creative development, maths, storytelling and mindfulness to name just a few.
So here are a few of our favourite activities we like to do with the Wooden Treasures.
Activity 1 – Butterfly Symmetry
Loose parts are perfect for introducing children to symmetry.
It doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be simply making a mirror image of a pattern.
For this activity I used a piece of cardboard and folded it in half, next I drew a butterfly onto it.
This is a great opportunity to talk about left and right.
Next, we filled the butterfly wings with a range of the wooden treasures ensuring the right and left side mirrored each other.
It might be an idea to model the activity first but it can be adapted to make it easier or more difficult depending on the child's understanding.
Activity 2 – Colour sorting
This activity is perfect for developing fine motor skills and Hand-eye coordination by picking them up and putting them into place. You could also use a tweezers instead.
You could use some coloured pots, paper or bottles for this.
We used our square TickiT Rainbow Architect Squares and then we sorted each piece into the correct coloured square.
You could take it forward a step and sort them into groups of colour shades as each set comes in three different shades or sort them by shape or texture.
As we completed the activity, we talked about the colour names and how some colour shades were lighter or darker, bigger or smaller etc
Activity 3 – Letter Formation and Name Recognition
It's always helpful to provide different ways for children to recognise their name and how to form letters so we used our name tracing board and filled it with the wooden treasures.
We also got a piece of cardboard and wrote out a word, then we used scissors to indent it into the cardboard so we could trace our finger alone and feel the formation of each letter and then filled it with the wooden treasures.
This type of activity is great to promote language development and increase language by asking open ended questions whilst you're playing such as “which colour is your favourite”
Activity 4 – Emotions
This activity is an important one especially during these uncertain times, which can be very difficult for children to understand.
For this activity we drew some faces onto card board showing some different emotions through facial expressions and then we used our wooden treasures to place around to shape of them mouth.
We talked about how different each face looked and why. We also said that its ok to show our emotions in these ways and that sometimes we might just need to talk to someone or take some time out.
Which brings me onto our next activity...
Activity 5 – Mandala
Making mandalas is such an amazing way of calming down and encouraging mindfulness.
Children can create the most beautiful pieces of art using the wooden treasures.
It helps them use their imagination and tell a story.
This activity is also lots of fun and great for adults to do too.
Activity 6 – Number Soup
Maths (addition and subtraction)
Loose parts are one of the best ways to explore maths.
You can draw numbers and count out the pieces to match or for number soup you can use cardboard to write out some addition and subtraction number problems and then using the wooden treasures copy out the number sentence and then add into the soup bowl to mix around. Children love this part!
So, I hope you have fun trying out some of these activities and don’t forget the treasures are great to take outdoors and encourage independent play. Isabella also loves to use them to decorate pretend pizzas or make cakes and smoothies too.
We will certainly be using them a lot over the next few weeks.
You can tag us on any of your wonderful activities with them.
Written by By Gillian Holbrook, mother to three girls and early years educator.