Manipulatives are a great way to help children with many skills all at once. This month and last month the children loved the manipulatives that came in the Mother Goose Time Curriculum box. In the lesson plan book that comes with the box every month they have suggestions for what to do with the manipulatives. For example this month the manipulatives were a foam puzzle and building blocks in various colors. The suggestions in the book for the manipulatives for this book are floating the foam puzzles in water and connecting them.
Another way that I used the foam blocks was to have them build a house for the three little pigs. They were help to develop their fine motor skills by putting the puzzles together for a house, then work on letter and number recognition by reading the numbers and letters they have built their house from. They are developing math skills by working on how big or small to build their houses with the foam blocks.
Last month the manipulative were shape connectors. One of the activities suggested for them was to use a cube and play a game with them. This was an excellent idea because they were again working on fine motor skills. They also worked on good sportsmanship and taking turns. It also helped with attention span. As #ece (early childhood education) teachers, we tend to focus on working on one skill at a time. This can often back fire because later the children have a hard time figuring out how to put all the skills together to achieve a goal. With manipulatives, the children are using all the skills together and they will become second nature. For children with speech delays, it will encourage them to speak more. You do this by asking open ended questions and encouraging them to describe what they are doing. Many times children have very large vocabularies and we are unaware because they have figured out a way to only use limited speech to answer questions.
These toys are more than just toys to keep children busy, they are often more interesting than bigger toys and help to increase so many skills. They are a crucial element in an early childhood setting. I am very happy that Mother Goose Time as recognized the benefits. I look forward to seeing what they send in the 2017-2018 school year.
*I receive this curriculum in exchange for an honest review.