Saturday, November 19, 2011

Games for Makers

Continuing with the theme of building skills for kids through play, I have a trio of family games to recommend. These games fall under this rubric:
17. Storytelling. We survive socially by telling each other stories. Encourage children to tell stories and release their imagination through whatever toy they have in their hands.
The first two are Rory's Story Cubes and Tell Tale from Blue Orange. Give the story elements and let your imagination run. Rory's Story Cubes are wildly popular, with many mentions around the internet. Tell Tale is new, but already a Best Toys for Kids award winner. Our staff favorite is Telestrations. This game is pictionary meets telephone in a family game that is both a riot to play and an insight in to how best to communicate with others. All these games build skills in the most entertaining way.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Toys for Makers P2:Joining Things

Joining Things. Gluing, nailing, soldering, welding, tying, lacing, riveting, taping, stitching, screwing. Most of these are cheap to learn — give them an old log, a hammer, and a bag of nails, and let them bang nails until that log looks like a rusty hedgehog. Nearly any craft project or model kit. One of the areas we have endless choices: Number one for Makers - the Make-Do kits. These kits make projects out of recycled materials - imagination and joining all in one! We have a section on our web site just for Building/Joining skills This is one of my favorite categories, and it's a category that is always evolving, so call us for our latest ideas!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Toys for Makers Part I

Yesterday I posted about the Curriculum of Toys. This list is a great starting place, and a reinforces what we do with our toys at The Golden Apple - we want toys that help kids grow! Not what used to be sneered at as "educational toys", but toys like the Trebuchet Kit from Mindware. From the Curriculum:
Forces. Gravity, levers (moments), projectile motion, friction, pulleys, mechanical advantage, gearing and gearboxes, torque. Mobiles, trebuchets, magnets, juggling, throwing and ball sports, board sports, sailing, seesaws, slides, Lego, and bicycles!
We've identified these toys as specific to learning about force: Mindware Trebuchet Mindware Catapult Zcurve Bow Magnet Science I'll update with more toys as we develop the list. Keep Making!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Toys for Little Makers

Saul Griffith has published a list of toys that help kids build important life skills - not the usual educational toy subjects, but skills everyone needs. I happen to agree with this list, nothing depresses me more than shoppers who ask for an "educational toy - something that teaches the ABCs!" I much prefer showing people toys that teach the skills outlined on this list.   I'm in the process of adding toys from our store to the categories Mr Griffith has outlined. Watch for them here, and posted in the store.