Ask any early childhood educator, and they will tell you about the great effects of play on a child's development. Through play, a child learns, grows and develops. Providing them with open-ended toys that don't provide just a single play opportunity, rather they grow and become more complex as your child develops, not only aids their learning ability but also means the life-span of the toy is greatly lengthened.
Connetix tiles are the perfect toy for open-ended play and below are just some of the ways in which your child is learning and developing whilst playing with these tiles.
The opportunity for creativity is endless with Connetix - they can be used in a different way every time they play! Open-ended toys provide children the freedom to express themselves creatively and work through a range of emotions, which is beneficial for many future occupations.
As Albert Einstein once said, “ Imagination is more important than knowledge.” So what can you build with your Connetix? A castle? Robot? A dog? Dollhouse? Space ship? Bridge? Robot? The Loch Ness monster? A rainbow? The Eiffel Tower? You may be surprised with what they come up with. Add your Connetix to other open-ended play materials or loose parts to extend play even further.
3. Magnetic force
Playing with Connetix is a fascinating method to learn about magnetic force as well as the attraction of two magnets with opposite poles (north and south). When you try to combine two magnets that are at odds with one another, watch them repel.
Connetix sets may include 2D shapes of squares, triangles (equilateral triangles, right-angled triangles and isosceles triangles) and rectangles that can be used as 2D building tiles or 3D shapes by creating nets. Children are able to develop an understanding of the shape and its properties through play, such as how many sides and corners they have (and for 3D shapes, how many faces, edges and vertices) and for older children, what better way to discover different triangles and their angles. Hands-on, enjoyable and engaging learning right there!
“How many tiles tall can we build our tower before it falls?” “How many squares do we need to make a cube?” “Let’s use 4 blue squares and 5 red squares.” There are so many ways counting is occurring when children play with Connetix.
6. One-to-one correspondence
One-to-one correspondence is the ability to match an object to a corresponding number. Often you see young children counting verbally without really realising what it actually means, or counting a group of objects but adding an extra number or two in. This is an important skill to learn and an easy one to practice through play.
7. Patterns and symmetry
Have fun using your Connetix to make patterns or mandalas – it is such a simple way to expose children to symmetry and patterns.
Playing with Connetix is a fantastic way to learn about light, translucency, and how to produce lovely, coloured reflections in addition to being a terrific way to explore colours. For even more colour fun, place Connetix near a window or on a light table.
9. Weight, Stability and balance
Exploring weight, stability, and balance is easy when using Connetix. Children investigate what goes into building safe structures, engage in weight and gravity experiments, and determine how tall a tower can be built without collapsing.
10. Cooperation and teamwork
Connetix are the perfect open-ended toy to have at home or in the classroom to encourage teamwork and cooperation (just remember, these skills mean less arguments!)
11. Problem solving
Learning to solve problems is a tricky skill for a child and one that takes time and practice to develop. Children can explore this concept while playing with Connetix as they manoeuvre through building constructions either alone or with friends, figuring out the most practical approach to realise their building ideas and designs.
12. Gross and fine motor skills
Did you know that well developed gross and fine motor skills are prerequisites to effective pencil grip and handwriting? When building with Connetix, children are using these skills to stretch, bend, reach, grasp, pinch and so much.
What better way to work on perseverance than to continue building, creating, working together…and not only that, to have a tower that you have been building fall down! “Ok, now let’s try again!”
14. Planning and engineering
For children, deciding what to build and how to do it often involves an element of planning and engineering, particularly for tricky structures like a bridge or when they are working with others and combining ideas. Say hello to your own little Iggy Peck Architect or Rosie Revere Engineer!
15. Cause and effect
What is the cause and effect when your children build with Connetix? If they place two tiles next to each other will they pull together or not? If they pull two tiles will they come apart? If they build tiles up without any support, what will happen? So many discoveries as they play!
16. Properties of materials & aesthetic awareness
While playing with Connetix, children are exploring different materials through their senses eg. touch (they feel smooth, hard, what is the material like? How strong is it? How heavy?), sight (colours, reflections), hearing (do they make a sound when they join together? When they fall down?).
17. Hand-eye coordination
Playing with Connetix can help your child build hand-eye coordination as they pick up, grasp and manipulate objects to build what they desire.
18. Language skills
Play is a wonderful way for children to develop and practice their language skills. Through play children can not only explore their own speech but also listen to that of their peers and adults, taking in speech sounds, new vocabulary and appropriate ways to communicate.
Developing the ability to focus and concentrate on a task does not come easily for all children but building with Connetix is a fun way to practice and strengthen this skill. Concentration allows children to focus on a task and learn, which in turn improves their self esteem. Which leads me to…
The sense of pride, accomplishment and excitement when they have built something they are proud of is a wonderful way for children to build their own self-esteem.
Connetix Tiles are a wonderful open-ended toy to help support your child’s learning and development in a fun, engaging way!
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” – O. Fred Donaldson
This blog post has been adapted from Connetix's website, you can read their original article in full here