with TickiT Wooden Architect Columns.
I couldn’t wait to see how my children would combine these with our Rainbow and Natural Architect shapes and Natural Architect Panels to build even bigger and more imaginative scenes, however to my surprise the first thing they did with the columns was small world play. The Wooden Architect Columns became peg dolls to them, and they started to act out their days at school and nursery. My daughter is seven and my son is four and they were both coming to the end of a busy week in year two and preschool. Their worlds came together as they played and made sense of obstacles and wins they had encountered throughout the week through play, it was lovely to watch.
With more time on our hands that Saturday morning my son brought out our full set of Rainbow and Natural Architect shapes (8 in total) and our full set of Natural Architect Panels (4 individual shape sets in total). He was able to balance these well on a flat surface and build a house, complete with car garage. The higher he built the harder it became, and he soon realised each column had to sit equally apart on each panel or sit inside the corners of the Architect Shapes for extra support. He used a lot of mathematical language throughout the building processes, and it held his concentration for much longer than I expected. We were not allowed to take it apart for the rest of the day, I do wish it hadn’t been built in the middle of the living room as we had to squeeze around it for fear of it toppling over!
My daughter is learning about tally charts and pictograms in maths and was set homework to count the amount of fruit we had in the house (luckily, we had just done a big food shop) and record it in a tally chart or pictogram. Her homework is set on an app; however, she doesn’t like working on a screen and although she is happy to put pen to paper, she recalls information and enjoys her work far more when she has a something tactile to work with. Because of this we often use loose parts and ten frames for counting, and for this exercise she used the columns as lines on her tally chart. The size of the column used related to the size of the fruit.
Not to be left out, my son wanted to get involved at this point. He started to create squares with the remaining columns and filled them carefully with Wooden Treasures. He carefully divided the treasures by colour and made equal squares. I was really impressed with his concertation as it can be tricky to find activities that keep him engaged, especially when I need to help my daughter with her homework. Again, his mathematical language was brilliant. He discussed quantities, sizes and shapes. I think he is in an enclosing schema currently as he has been creating a lot of boxes and borders to his play.
My daughter then combined the columns with our Architect Sets, but not in the way I expected her too. She didn’t use them to build but as an extension to her imaginary play scene. They became the Giants Causeway! She added the Rainbow and Natural Architect Sets and Natural Architect Panel Set, Wooden Treasures, Wooden Community People and Animal Friends to create a fascinating imaginary play set up which captivated her interest for hours. We have never been to the Giants Causeway, but she is learning about it at school. It was lovely to hear all about it. If I quiz her over dinner about her day I get very little response, but when she is playing I find out so much more about what interests her. Her descriptive language skills also seem to flourish as she plays and gives her characters their personalities and back stories.
Later that day, and after hearing an alarming clatter, I walked in on a bowling game in action! Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this if you have wooden or laminate floor as it is incredibly noisy, however the columns seem to be very robust and were unharmed in the process, but next time I will probably suggest we play on carpet
I keep being surprised by the amount of uses my children find for the Wooden Architect Columns. I had only expected them to be used for construction games, however they are played with daily. For example, yesterday the columns were my children’s tools in a role play game where they were builders putting up a wall in a castle to keep a dragon out. I guess this is the beauty of open-ended toys – they have as many uses and play opportunities as the child’s imagination allows…and no one has more imagination than a child!