I started to look at Guidecraft because of their furniture when I moved in my new home.
I’ve had already seen their award winning Powerclix® and IO blocks®, both are great for open-ended play, to make the most creative constructions.
As I prefer wooden toys, some of their wooden building blocks and wide range of ‘manipulatives’ (lock boxes, weight cylinders, sound boxes, tactile toys) ended up on our digital wishlist.
The rainbow blocks inmediatly caught my eye and are available not only in different sizes (I have the ‘Jr.’ version), but also with different materials like coloured sand, beads or water.
On the package you can find suggestions for activities and ways to encourage your child to discover colours, patterns, shapes & constructions with these blocks.
For example: ”Which block is one-half of a circle?” or ”Overlap the blue and yellow rectangles, what color do you see?”.
These blocks are also great to combine with a light table. We’ve used sunlight and a flash light in our play.
And how much fun is it too see the world through on of the blocks? Alice actually made some coloured glasses by using the little circles and a rectangle block.
At first the girls started building constructions. Towers, houses, a little town. After a while Celine discovered you can also lay the blocks flat on the floor and create colourful art with all those shapes.
You can combine the blocks with wooden blocks you already own or just let the kids play with these on itself. The 20 piece set is big enough to build a tower and contains different shapes and size blocks for versatile play.
3d feel and find – world icons
It’s pretty hard to pick a favourite from the ‘manipulatives’ section, but as my girls love puzzles & matching pairs the 3D feel & find was a great choice.
I can see this to be used in (home)schooling too as it can be used to learn much more than just to match the pairs.
Alice (3) tried it first. Icons in the bag, trying to feel which shape you grab to match it to the tile. This was too hard for her, some shapes are very similar (especially the animals) so she preferred to get them all out of the bag so she could see them and also use the colours to match them up.
Celine (4,5) preferred the tactile game, closing her eyes and trying to match up the icons by touch. At first we picked on colour so there would only be 2 or 3 different shapes / icons, later she preferred to mix them all.
Again you can find suggestions to encourage play on the back of the package.
Activities like counting, describing objects, story telling and sorting the colours are suggested by Guidecraft.
Instead of putting the icons in the bag, you can also put the tiles in the bag to match it with the icons.
It was interesting to see how different Celine and Alice play with this set. Celine is very articulate and could tell she found an animal because she felt it has legs and a head.
She was able to narrow down the choices by describing the shape and some shapes (like a heart) are easier than others.
Alice loved to sort the set by colours before matching the icons to the tiles.
They did get bored more quickly compared to the building blocks and needed encouragement to discover other ways of playing, sorting or counting.
Both products are priced just below 30usd and can be ordered at Guidecraft.com