Do you like educational toys and learning manipulatives for kids? If so, be prepared to fall in love with Spielgaben! I consider myself pretty well versed on educational toys, but I hadn’t heard of this one until I started seeing it on a few favorite blogs – and their instagram accounts! I was intrigued by this all wood and wool set of early childhood learning manipulatives developed by Friedrich Froebel, inventor of kindergarten – and I jumped at the chance to review a set with my kids!
The Spielgaben set comes with thirteen different components. Version 02 is the style that will be sold in the US; we were sent Version 01. The actual components are identical in both versions. The set also comes with learning resources to create a complete curriculum – complete with a lifetime update on future upcoming learning resources!
I looked over the learning resources, and they are an excellent teaching resource, as well as providing creative inspiration. The toys themselves are equally inspirational. Here, four-year-old Lily and five-year-old Johnny played very differently with the colored sticks and rings. Lily used them on a 3D plane and spent a lot of time exploring their movement and the sounds they made; Johnny created pictures:
The colors combined with the solid wood make for incredibly rewarding exploratory play – they are weighted just right, and the colors are beautifully vibrant:
Spielgaben 7 is made up of seven differently-shaped tablets. They are quite small, and can be used to create complex patterns and mosaics as well as to build towers and rocket ships:
Spielgaben 10 (the small discs below) is designed to introduce kids to the idea of a geometric point. They are wonderful for detailed mosaics, as counters, and even as play food (coconut shell not included):
Anna quickly adopted the wool balls. There are 12 – one of each color with a string and one without. They are soft, and excellent for exploring movement:
Anna also thinks they make quite a fashion statement! My other kids also really like these, and there are some great ideas of ways to incorporate them into structured explorations in the user guides that I want to explore.
I have always felt strongly that early childhood was the time to introduce geometry, and Spielgaben does this better than any other educational tool I have seen. I love the way the Spielgaben 2 set allows kids to explore planes and points of intersection in a 3D geometric solid.
The geometric solids can also be suspended – from a crossbeam (included) or your own hand:
These blocks are also excellent for exploring 3D geometric solids:
I have emphasized this set’s use in early childhood education, but honestly I could see this being useful clear through high school – both as a learning tool and as an artistic toy.
What part of this set do you think your kids would gravitate towards first? What part would you want to explore first?
We were sent a Spielgaben set to review. All opinions are my own.