Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Toddler/preschool open ended toys.

I talked about open ended toys in my last post, in reference to an article I read, so I thought I would share some of my favorite open ended toys!

The article referenced that open ended toys allow children to explore what they can do with the toy, not just see what the toy can do for the child. An example would be blocks (open ended), verses a battery operated keyboard that has set buttons and plays set songs. Neither are bad, but you can explore, imagine, and create much more with the blocks. This website says that open ended play doesn't bind children to present circumstances, but offers limitless possibilities without pressure, rules, or desired outcomes.

So, here are some of my favorites! I also post links to larger packages/boxes. Especially with open ended toys, having more pieces provides more options for creativity! It's also usually not that much more money to get a significant number of more pieces, and for those with multiple children, having lots means easier sharing.

1. Magna-Tiles clear colors set- 100 pieces- We had these when I taught preschool, and they were by far the most fought over toy. They were definitely well loved! Norah has some too and it just getting old enough to have an idea and create something, rather than just stack them all together. So fun to watch! They come in 2 sizes of squares, three sizes of triangles, and have magnets all around the edging.


2. Mega-Bloks- 80 pieces- These are great for the younger toddlers, as they are larger and easier to maneuver (and they can put them in their mouth without worrying about small pieces), but older can still enjoy them too!

3. My First Duplo Legos- 65 pieces- Norah has this set and really enjoys it! Her current and most obvious favorite thing to build is a "big tower." Ha. 


4. Kid K'Nex education group set- 131 pieces- We had these when I taught preschool too and you can make so many things! It's neat that some of the pieces bend too.


5. Tinkertoy essential value set- 150 pieces- I had tinkertoys growing up and I remember playing with them often.


6. Lincoln Logs 100th anniversary tin- 111 pieces- For some reason, Lincoln Logs were never my personal favorite, but they are still a classic.


7. Melissa and Doug wooden blocks set- 100 pieces- Every kid needs a basic block set!


8. Orbrium Toys wooden train set- 100 pieces (fits Thomas Wooden and Brio Railway System sets)- This looks like a neat one! I've had lots of kids in the classroom that were obsessed with trains and would play with these kinds of things for a long time.


9. Marble Genius marble run super set- 85 pieces- This would be more for the older toddlers/preschoolers, as there are smaller pieces and you have to be more deliberate about what you are creating, but very fun.


10. Lauri tall stacker toys- A fun, different take on blocks!


There are many good choices out there, so research for yourself, but these are some of my favorites!

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