Are you familiar with Froebel? If not you should read up on him. He was the father of the German Kindergarten...not the kindergarten we are now all envision, but something much more, or perhaps I should say less! It was a calm and simple environment perfect for little minds to grow and explore. He developed the Froebel Gifts and Occupations for children to "play" with but really they were doing so much more without even knowing it. These basic shapes, colors, textures, and forms were all designed with endless possibilities to stir imagination. Our dear friend Tiffeni is a Froebel pedagogue and has been teaching me all about these wonderful gifts to use with my kids.
Several weeks ago I introduced Abby and Henry to Gift 1 , a set of 6 yarn balls in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Each ball has a loop on one end so that they can be dangled or looped together for lots of opportunities for creative play. Traditionally Gift 1 was introduced to children 3 months old to 3 years old, but I was anxious to see what Abby and Henry would do with them. It was so much fun to watch them explore this magical box filled with something new. I just put the box on the table and stood back and watched them...not saying a word to see what they would come up with. The very first idea was to make them into necklaces. Of course Henry instantly had to wear green and shortly after that they were each wearing a multiple "necklaces" in the colors of the rainbow. After that they discovered they could string them together to make a long chain, from there they started manipulating them into all kinds of different shape combinations and from there it was a natural progression into creating their own games with them. They played with Gift 1 for the entire afternoon and had so much fun exploring all the possibilities and after it was put away they asked to play with it again and again and they are still talking about it weeks later.
Next up, Gift 2!