I put a lot of thought into choosing the right toys for my kids. And I ask a lot of the toys I choose. I want them to be excellent quality, durable, long lasting, fun, and most often educational. That’s a big order to fill!
So when I first heard about Spielgaben. I was immediately intrigued. As a home preschooling family who is focused on learning through play, I could see so many potential benefits and opportunities for play and learning. When I learned that we had a chance to review a complimentary Spielgaben set, I was so excited. So far I can definitely say the set has exceeded even our highest expectations, and I’m thrilled to be able to tell you more about it in this sponsored post. There’s even a special discount for Fantastic Fun and Learning readers, so keep reading!
What is Spielgaben?
Spielgaben is a learning system that includes 13 (14 in the new kit) sequential sets of manipulatives designed to help parents and teachers educate kids through play based learning. The 14th set in the new kit includes pegs and a pegboard, and it looks terrific. Through interactive play with the Spielgaben sets and learning resources kids have the opportunity to develop essential mathematical understanding, creativity, and more.
Our Experience So Far with Spielgaben
There are many different ways to incorporate Spielgaben into play. When I first got our kit, I read through some of the wonderful learning resources, and I decided to first introduce the kit by leaving the materials out during our home preschool time. The kids were free to choose when and if they played with the materials each day.
There are so many creative learning activities and play ideas that I’d like to do with these materials, but today I want to focus on the benefits of Spielgaben on its own, with no need for extra planning or preparation. You see, I read a lot of your emails and comments, and I know as parents and teachers you are busy. For many of you the idea of planning one more thing and creating one more activity can feel a tad overwhelming. And if you’re going to buy a set of toys like this, then you want it to stand on its own without any extra work.
In my experience, Spielgaben definitely does that! Without any creating or extra work on my part, I have already witnessed many positive changes and learning discoveries in both of my girls, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of its potential.
Spielgaben and Tinker, Age 3
Tinker just turned three. Since Spielgaben is designed to be of interest to children from age three to twelve, she’s just at the beginning of the recommended age. Because of her hands-on learning style, I knew she’d love Spielgaben. What I didn’t quite anticipate was all the discoveries her play would lead to so soon.
Many days she experiments with creating different kinds of towers. As she does she is learning about balance and how smaller pieces combine to make larger objects. She’s analyzing her structure to determine how to make it taller and more sturdy. She’s learning how to handle disappointment when those marvelous creations tumble down, and she’s developing persistence as she tries to build them up again.
Some days we take our Spielgaben kit outside to create under a shady tree. On this day I sat back and observed Tinker’s play and all the learning that occurred along the way. She started by adding a few points to the mirror. As she did so she was strengthening fine motor muscles and beginning her creation.
After adding a few sticks and cubes to begin making a face, she tried to add a sphere. When she did, she discovered that some objects roll. And so began a lengthy experiment to see which objects would roll and in what direction. Since that day I’ve seen her investigating how not only our Spielgaben pieces roll, but other objects as well. It’s wonderful to see that learning extend into other activities.
After a bit she turned her attention back to the cubes and sticks to make a “house.” During that time she practiced one-to-one correspondence as she matched a stick to each cube. And when she discovered that the 1 inch stick was hidden as it was dropped into the hole of the cube while the 3 inch sticks stood tall, she was learning to measure and compare height.
Spielgaben and Lovey, Age 5
Lovey’s experience with Spielgaben has been different. As a kinesthetic learner, she is happiest doing some form of gross motor movement. She is not typically drawn to loose parts, puzzle play, or building with blocks.
During her first interactions with Spielgaben she played for a couple of minutes or less. She would get frustrated as she’d make a creation then accidentally bump it and shift all of the pieces out of place. At the same time she would observe from afar as her sister made creations. I could tell she wanted to play. She just wasn’t quite comfortable with the materials yet.
Then I started setting the nature guide out next to the materials. Lovey was immediately drawn to the pictures in the guide. She liked having a “how-to”, and she started making a few of the creations each day, developing a little more confidence in her ability to create with the materials each time.
Soon after that while freely exploring the three trays she discovered that she could remove the crossbar and suspend the woolen balls from it. This immediately appealed to her learning style, and she began experimenting with force and motion. She played for the better part of the morning with this “tire swing.” She let it sway back and forth and then made it spin in a circular motion. She tested how hard she had to push it to get it to make the full 360 degree loop over the crossbar. And she twisted it as tightly as she could to see how fast it would spin as it untwisted itself. She was fascinated, and I was completely enthralled watching her excitement grow.
Once Lovey began feeling more comfortable interacting with the materials, she was willing to try and make some creations on her own. She was most proud of this bear. And to encourage her and all of the kids, I’ve started taking snapshots of favorite creations. When we have a few I plan to combine them into our own inspiration book that the kids can use like they use the nature cards and inspiration cards.
What’s Next for Us?
The girls have been so engaged in learning and playing in this open-ended way that I have not started using the lessons in the Play Guides yet. I’ve read through many of them in all of the different guides, and I’m very excited to get started using them soon.
Is Spielgaben Worth the Money?
One of the common reservations I hear about ordering Spielgaben is the cost. As I was researching and thinking about getting a kit for my family I also spent some time analyzing whether I felt the set would really be worth the money. Of course, that is a personal consideration that will be different for every family. But these are some of the conclusions I made as I thought about the cost.
First, the set is full of many different types of blocks that can be used for many different purposes. If I purchased individual sets of similar toys, I’d be spending nearly as much or more money in a piecemeal fashion, and I wouldn’t be able to get all of the materials included in the Spielgaben set. By purchasing them all in one kit there is one set of toys that can all be used together, not to mention that value of the learning resources that accompany the kit. And I love that all the pieces have a special home and the trays can easily be stored and retrieved by the kids.
Then there’s the fact that the kit is designed for use by kids from age 3 through 12. That’s a long time, so the math geek in me started to break down that cost. The online cost right now is $368.55. So let’s think about that over time (stick with me if math isn’t your thing!). If my three year old plays with Spielgaben twice a week (although I think she’ll play with it much more often based on what I’m already seeing) until she turns twelve, then that is 936 times she’ll be playing. That means it costs me about 40 cents each time she plays.
And that’s only for one of my children. When I factor in how much my five year old will be using the kit and how much the boys in my care will use Spielgaben, then the cost becomes even less per use. I think that really helped me put the cost in perspective, and it doesn’t even take into consideration the educational value and lasting benefits our play and learning with Spielgaben will have.
So based on our experience so far with Spielgaben and all of that thinking and analyzing, I can say that Spielgaben is definitely worth the money in my opinion. And remember that long list of expectations I have for our toys–excellent quality, durable, long lasting, fun, and educational? Spielgaben meets all of those expectations, too.
Discount for Fantastic Fun and Learning Readers
If you are thinking of purchasing Spielgaben for your home or school, you can get your kit for even less than the online price. Just contact Spielgaben and tell them you are a Fantastic Fun and Learning reader, the country you reside in, and your postcode. You’ll get an additional 12% off the already discounted online price. That means the price will be USD 328 including shipping to US,UK, and AU.
And you’ve made it to the end of this very long post! Thank you for reading all the way through. I know it was a lot of information, but I hope it was helpful.
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