Thursday, 16 October 2014

Growing with Spielgaben - Totally Worth It

Growing With Spielgaben
A year ago, Sept 2013, I ordered my box of Spielgaben.  I wrote about my excitement as I waited impatiently for the box.  Yes, IMPATIENTLY.  It was hard to be patient when my mind was generating many play ideas for Sweet Butterfly.  Everyday, I visualized how Sweet Butterfly would use the box.  

It came in Dec 2013.  I unpacked it with Sweet Butterfly. 
Opening Spielgaben Opening Spielgaben (@ 33 Months)
We were excited but Hubby was upset.  It costed me more than SGD $500.  I bought it without discussing with Hubby as I knew he would object.  Now, I'm happy to announce, he had changed his mind.  I had convinced him Spielgaben is worth every dollar.  Here's why.

High Quality
There were lots of 'wow's when we opened the box.  Since it was not cheap, I examined every single pieces for defects (Yes, I'm that particular).  The pieces of wood were nicely made, shaped and smooth to touch.  I'm quite sure it will last us for the many years to come
Build Creativity and Imagination
For free play, there was no way to stop her.  It was autopilot.  She knew what to do with them.
 Free Play at 34 monthsBuilding a train, connecting the cotton balls and exploring the various sets (@ 34 Months)
Cotton Ball StoreSetting up a store to sell coloured cotton balls (@ 34 Months)
Rings and braceletsPretend play bracelet (@37 Months)
  Cotton ball trainConnecting the cotton balls again (@ 38 Months)
All-in-One with Endless Possibilities
Since we started Tot School, I had been searching for various manipulatives and loose parts.  This box was the answer. A total of 13 Sets.  Each can be used separately or together.  It's my version of a bundle deal.
We played and played.  A typical Spielgaben session lasted for more than an hour.  This was our record.  We had incorporated the manipulatives into our Lessons in a number of ways.
Points as playing piecesLoose Parts -  Playing pieces (@34 months)
PatternsMaths – Patterning inspired by 1+1+1=1 (@37 Months)
First StructureCreativity – Her first structure (@ 38 Months)
Flower creationCreativity – Her first flower creation.  Bugs created by Mama. (@ 38 Months)
Bird HouseCreativity – Bird House (@39 Months)
Crazy FacesCreativity - Crazy faces inspired by Picklebums (@41 Months)
Puppet ShowStory telling – Puppet show (@41.5 Months)
GameSelf invented game (@41.5 Months)
Solid Teaching Manuals
When I received the manuals, I was plesantly surprised by the details in it.  They explained each lesson clearly.  The objectives, the difficulty level and the steps.  These helped me to plan out the lessons for Sweet Butterly.  With the learning objectives clearly spelled out, I could direct the lesson in a way to meet the objectives.  This helped as I’d no training as an early childhood educator.
Ready Lessons
There were days when I didn't have time to print and prepare lessons for Sweet Butterfly.  This got worst when I got pregnant.  On such days, I consulted the Spielgaben teaching manual, pulled out the box and engaged Sweet Butterfly.  Till date, we had done lessons for Set 1 and Set 2 twice.  We had played with all the sets but no formal lessons for the other sets as Sweet Butterfly was not ready.
Find the Hidden ColourFind the Hidden Colour (@ 34 Months)
Spinning play groundSpinning Playground (@36.5 Months)
Accompanying Curriculum
Worksheets were designed for each set.  We had completed almost all the worksheets for Set 1.  Set 1 worksheets were done at least twice.  I could see her progress as we revisited the worksheets.  
Set 1 (First Time)Set 1 Worksheets (@35 Months)
Set 2Set 2 Worksheets (@38 Months)
Set 1 (2nd Time)Set 1 Worksheets (@39 Months)
Included in the curriculum were inspiration cards and nature cards which require Sweet Butterfly to build according to the picture.  Currently this is a challenge for her and she hasn't shown much interest in it yet.  We are going slow with this.  When there is an opportunity, I’ll build something from the picture to get her interested.
Baby Play
Baby can have fun with Spielgaben too.  We had started to use the cotton balls with a Busy Bee.  We started with one ball and swaying it from side to side.  Slowly we progressed to use all the balls.  He is currently learning to grasp them.
Baby Play

It had been almost a year since we received our Spielgaben.  We did many activities.  There are many more to come.  It's definitely not a play-once-throw-aside-toy.  I believe we will use it through Sweet Butterfly and Busy Bee primary school years.  I did my maths.  It is worth the $500.  It wasn't hard to convince Hubby, Spielgaben is worth to grow up with.  We bought the upgrade kit too
Stay tuned for individual posts on Spielgaben activities.

Disclaimer: I'm not paid to write this post nor compensated in anyway.  In short, I paid for my box. 

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