STEM Learning For Young Architects With Shape Mags
I’ve written previously about how much my kids – #thebigone especially – enjoy building. They love the challenge of creating a structure, whether using blocks or something less conventional. They were pretty psyched when Shape Mags got in touch about sending us some magnetic building pieces to check out. The package did not disappoint! My kiddos have been happily building ever since they arrived. Read on to see what we love about Shape Mags. You can also snag a free printable I created to maximize learning while playing with these cool blocks.
WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT SHAPE MAGS
Unlike many other building and architecture-type toys, I don’t have to worry about #thelittleone swallowing a tiny piece. Huge relief for mamas who’s kiddos have a big age difference. No more sending #thebigone upstairs to his room every time he wants to build something. Shape Mags are perfect for a huge age range… We took our set to my parents’ one evening, and I caught my dad building his own masterpiece while the kids were playing in a whole other room!
There’s not a whole lot of ‘lining up’ that needs to be done to successfully start building with Shape Mags. Sure, some techniques and approaches will be more structurally sound than others. But discovering that is part of the learning process for young kids, as they become more familiar with the geometry of the pieces. I love that my two year old can successfully get some pieces together independently. It’s perfect for building his confidence, which will only lead to greater learning and bigger buildings in the future!
The Endless Possibilities
My kids are constantly discovering new ways to put their Shape Mags together. Watching #thebigone build with his grandfather was awesome. They challenged each other to add second stories to buildings, add awnings ‘in case of rain’, and there was even an excited ‘Hey, I wonder if I could make a geodesic dome with these?!’ [Clearly, that came from my father, not the seven year old!]
Shape Mags has so many other cool sets that open up the possibilities even further. We hope to add on to our collection with some of the cool domes, igloo pieces, and other accessories in the near future. I can’t wait to see what else my kiddos create when add to their stash!
The Learning Opportunities
My two year old is totally obsessed with shapes right now. In addition to simply building with the Shape Mags, he also loves sorting the pieces by shape. At this point, he’s not terribly successfully at distinguishing the different types of triangles from one another. Luckily, because these blocks are exposing him to concepts like right triangles early, I know he will master that knowledge when the time is right.
Colors are another favorite of #thelittleone right now. He loves to sort his Shape Mags into piles of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. I decided to create a simple, printable game that he and #thebigone could play together to reinforce color knowledge using the Shape Mags. Read on for the basic directions, and remember to stick around to the end of the post to grab your free printable as well.
LET’S PLAY (AND LEARN)!
- Printable die (keep scrolling!)
- I recommend printing on heavy cardstock, since it’s sturdier.
- Invisible tape or a glue stick
- Shape Mags
How To Play:
- Grab your die printable and cut it out using your scissors.
- Fold creases along all the corners and tabs of the die.
- Assemble the die into a cube shape. Use invisible tape or a glue stick to secure the die.
- Pull out your Shape Mags and get ready for fun!
- Each player rolls the die.
- The color it lands on indicates which color Shape Mag they should use next in their creation. This is a great opportunity for young kids to verbally identify a color, as well as seek out a match in the box.
- If the die lands on the rainbow side, the player can choose any color block.
- There’s no set loser or winner to this game. It’s open ended and laid back, making it great for young kids. Due to color limitations, some children will have to adapt their structures on the fly, so it’s a great opportunity for problem solving and stretching their thinking.
- For example, if they really need a square for their building, but roll blue, and no blue squares remain, it will be up to the young architect to rethink their plan.
Do Your Kids Enjoy Building? What Are Their Favorite Materials To Build With? Let Me Know In The Comments Below!
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