Nov 21, 2017

The Magic Umbrellas - Children Book Review By Shital Choudhary - #MondayMorningReviews



Wondering which books to read to your child? Welcome to this wonderful 10 weeks long project of #MondayMorningReviews where Shital Choudhary, a passionate storyteller & a mom herself, shares children's book reviews every Monday! The age group for these books is 0-4 years. This review series will help you choose the best books for your baby / toddler / preschooler / kindergartener. This week's pick is The Magic Umbrellas! Read on this full book review. 


Book: The Magic Umbrellas
Author: Theertha Raj
Illustrations: Nancy Raj
Publisher: MsMoochie books
Recommendation: Strong
Age: 3+ years



Story

A little girl Leela's umbrellas keep getting lost. First day of school, she loses her first one, no one has a clue, on second day second one, but someone sees it, flying out of the window, third day third one goes 'whoosh' and everybody sees it flying out. Where are they going? Leela's mother decides to follow the forth one!



The suspense is built and unfolded in each passing day. We are kept glued till the end.

What I Liked

Suspense: I liked the 'Suspense' angle. I like children stories that try to incorporate suspense or investigation theories with very simple stories. And more so, I loved the ending, the suspense ends with a strong message.

Illustrations: detailing in illustrations like mess of classroom in the break time, vapor evaporating from hot cutting tea, umbrella designs is wonderful.

Green highlighted text: the story uses two fonts, one - normal and second - highlighted bold and bigger green fonts, these bigger fonts tell you all about the umbrellas.

Our Experience

Let me tell you about a couple of questions asked by my kid and answers given by me after 3rd reading of this book. 

Q: mom how can Apoopa be young here (see the pic above) A: Oh! this coconut incident happened when he was young, so...
Q: what's pillion? A: back seat of a scooter
Q: How can author and illustrator both be 'Raj' A: just a coincidence Q: what's a coincidence? A: ...and i explained



I am sure each book and each story has a plethora of opportunities to talk, discuss and derive at learning and values we seek out in life.

Go ahead and enjoy this umbrella unfolding its magic!


Book review contributed by Shital Choudhary
Chief Reviewer at 
Children's Book Reviews & Stories


Shital Choudhary is a passionate storyteller (a Kathalaya Alumina) and a mom to a 6 year old. Apart from power of stories in teaching concepts and values, she believes that stories can come at your rescue absolutely at any situation in your parenting journey. You can reach out to her at storywayschool [AT] gmail.com. She documents her book reviews, recommendations and reading out experiences at her Facebook page - Children's Book Reviews & Stories


This book review is a part of 10 week long project #MondayMorningReviews which is going on in our Facebook Group. Join in the tribe of involved & conscious parents HERE now! You can find ALL the book reviews under this project HERE.

Do not forget to follow us on Facebook page & closed Facebook groupTwitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish - Children Book Review By Shital Choudhary - #MondayMorningReviews



Wondering which books to read to your child? Welcome to this wonderful 10 weeks long project of #MondayMorningReviews where Shital Choudhary, a passionate storyteller & a mom herself, shares children's book reviews every Monday! The age group for these books is 0-4 years. This review series will help you choose the best books for your baby / toddler / preschooler / kindergartener. This week's pick is One Fish Two Fish by Dr Seuss! Read on this full book review. 


Book: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
Author: Dr. Seuss
Concept: Math and Phonics


About

It's no story book. It is just a book with funny phonetic sentences and funnier illustrations. It is more or less a funny 'Math' concept book. It touches upon all the basic Math concepts like colours, numbers, distance, speed, height, sizes and opposites in the simplest and funniest and rhyming way we can ever imagine.


You can read this book or you can sing. It will give your kid's imaginations little furry wings and keep your funny bones tickling!
For instance, Red fish, Blue fish, one fish, two fish, fat fish, thin fish, old fish, young fish. Some are fast and some are slow. Some are high and some are low.

Phonetic rhyming words like Run-fun-Sun. Bump-Wump-hump-gump. Here-there-everywhere. Dear-hear-near-ear-fear. Old-gold-hold-cold. so on and on the book goes on for 62 pages without beginning without end. Well, because fun is not supposed to end!

Our Experience

Needless to mention, we had tons of fun laughing out loud, singing and reading this book together. And I must caution you, you will not reach to the last page so easily while reading it to your little ones, as he/she will turn back pages and say Mumma! please read this again! uff! AGAIN!


One Fish Two Fish.... A book to relish!


Book review contributed by Shital Choudhary
Chief Reviewer at 
Children's Book Reviews & Stories


Shital Choudhary is a passionate storyteller (a Kathalaya Alumina) and a mom to a 6 year old. Apart from power of stories in teaching concepts and values, she believes that stories can come at your rescue absolutely at any situation in your parenting journey. You can reach out to her at storywayschool [AT] gmail.com. She documents her book reviews, recommendations and reading out experiences at her Facebook page - Children's Book Reviews & Stories


This book review is a part of 10 week long project #MondayMorningReviews which is going on in our Facebook Group. Join in the tribe of involved & conscious parents HERE now! You can find ALL the book reviews under this project HERE.

Do not forget to follow us on Facebook page & closed Facebook groupTwitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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Tiddler - The Storytelling Fish - Children Book Review By Shital Choudhary - #MondayMorningReviews



Wondering which books to read to your child? Welcome to this wonderful 10 weeks long project of #MondayMorningReviews where Shital Choudhary, a passionate storyteller & a mom herself, shares children's book reviews every Monday! The age group for these books is 0-4 years. This review series will help you choose the best books for your baby / toddler / preschooler / kindergartener. This week's pick is Tiddler - The Storytelling Fish! Read on this full book review. 


Book: Tiddler - The Story-Telling Fish
Author: Julia Donaldson
Publisher: Scholastic
Age: 2-4 years
Recommendation: Strong


About



Tiddler is a fish. He likes to make up stories. He makes up stories of how he got late for school (which he does every day). So no one believes him when he says I got late because I met up with a mermaid or got caught in the net and so on.

But what will happen when he really gets lost and doesn't reach school on time? Will his stories help him? Is there anyone who believes in him?

Best part: of the story is this jingle that gets repeated 'Tiddler is telling a story, Tiddler is telling a story ..... ' kids would love to hear this little song and would literally sway with you if you do.

It's a very relate-able story by all kids who often times makes up stories of their day to day encounters with friends, teachers, etc. At the same time, the book may be used as an opportunity to discuss pros and cons of making up stories.




Strongly recommended! 


Book review contributed by Shital Choudhary
Chief Reviewer at 
Children's Book Reviews & Stories


Shital Choudhary is a passionate storyteller (a Kathalaya Alumina) and a mom to a 6 year old. Apart from power of stories in teaching concepts and values, she believes that stories can come at your rescue absolutely at any situation in your parenting journey. You can reach out to her at storywayschool [AT] gmail.com. She documents her book reviews, recommendations and reading out experiences at her Facebook page - Children's Book Reviews & Stories


This book review is a part of 10 week long project #MondayMorningReviews which is going on in our Facebook Group. Join in the tribe of involved & conscious parents HERE now! You can find ALL the book reviews under this project HERE.

Do not forget to follow us on Facebook page & closed Facebook groupTwitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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Fun With Alphabet Stories - Children Book Review By Shital Choudhary - #MondayMorningReviews



Wondering which books to read to your child? Welcome to this wonderful 10 weeks long project of #MondayMorningReviews where Shital Choudhary, a passionate storyteller & a mom herself, shares children's book reviews every Monday! The age group for these books is 0-4 years. This review series will help you choose the best books for your baby / toddler / preschooler / kindergartener. This week's pick is Fun With Alphabet Stories! Read on this full book review. 



Concept: Alphabet Stories
Book: Fun with Alphabet Stories (Set of 6 books)
Publisher: Navneet Publications (India) Ltd.
Age: 1.5+ years
Recommendation: Strong




Concept

Alphabet stories are conceptualized to focus on the derived learning it imparts, of words beginning with a particular alphabet. For instance Story of letter 'A', 'B' and so on till letter 'Z'. So there are always 26 stories. These stories can be designed in a progressive way to suit the audience from toddlers to kids age 11-12 years.

Primarily, each Story has many words beginning with that particular alphabet.

The ones designed for toddlers are very, very simple stories packed with as many simple words of that alphabet as feasible.

This is the best way to enhance a kid's vocabulary without fussing about it.

About The Set

There are many books available in the market based on the concept. But this set by Navneet is my absolute favorite.

Divided into 6 six books, there are of course 26 stories. Let's look at one of the stories. Story of Letter 'G' for instance:

Geeta Gorilla guards a Guava garden in Gauhati.
Through the gaps in the wall, goats get into the garden to eat the guavas.
"Eat some garlic and blast the goats with your breath," Ganju the goose suggests.
Geeta eats lots of garlic.
She blows her garlic breath.
the goats gag and hurry away.
Geeta is garlanded as the best guard in Gauhati.
"Thank you, Ganju," Geeta says gratefully.


Just 8 simple sentences, telling a proper story (the story has a problem and its logical resolution too), packing as many as 14 different 'G' letter words, including 3 proper nouns and 7 common nouns is an achievement in itself.

Don't you think?

Our Experience



I picked up this set when my child was just one year old. Like most of my books, I didn't pick it up for teaching anything. I picked up because, I wanted books with silly simple small stories to be read to a one year old. What followed was beyond my guess. Kid loved all the stories no ends. I had no choice but to follow 3 steps 1) read out 2) re-tell 3) repeat!

My Recommendation

Buy the set, start with Story of letter A, sit on the story for as long as child wants you to, read, tell, repeat! Move on to Story of letter 'B' when your child tells you to.

You may also want to check out my video review of this set in this video below. It also includes a read-aloud of story of letter 'F' for reference.




Even though I recommend these books for 1.5 years onward, I have successfully done storytelling of these stories with much older kids too.


Book review contributed by Shital Choudhary
Chief Reviewer at 
Children's Book Reviews & Stories


Shital Choudhary is a passionate storyteller (a Kathalaya Alumina) and a mom to a 6 year old. Apart from power of stories in teaching concepts and values, she believes that stories can come at your rescue absolutely at any situation in your parenting journey. You can reach out to her at storywayschool [AT] gmail.com. She documents her book reviews, recommendations and reading out experiences at her Facebook page - Children's Book Reviews & Stories


This book review is a part of 10 week long project #MondayMorningReviews which is going on in our Facebook Group. Join in the tribe of involved & conscious parents HERE now! You can find ALL the book reviews under this project HERE.

Do not forget to follow us on Facebook page & closed Facebook groupTwitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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Clumsy - Children Book Review By Shital Choudhary - #MondayMorningReviews



Wondering which books to read to your child? Welcome to this wonderful 10 weeks long project of #MondayMorningReviews where Shital Choudhary, a passionate storyteller & a mom herself, shares children's book reviews every Monday! The age group for these books is 0-4 years. This review series will help you choose the best books for your baby / toddler / preschooler / kindergartener. This week's pick is Clumsy! Read on this full book review. 


Book: Clumsy!
Author: Ken Spillman
Illustrator: Manjari Chakravarti
Publisher: Tulika Publishers
Age Group: 2+ years
Recommendation: Strong



About The Book: 

Disability is not always physically glaring, sometimes it's more like inability to do things the way it's expected. The book tells a tale of a girl who lacks heavily in what we call 'motor skills', yes! And how she is been treated by all around her on this point alone.

Family, friends, teachers call her names; Some call her 'Clumsy', some 'Butterfingers', some 'Slowcoach', some 'Messy' and what not!



One day, her grandmother gives her a paintbox. She loves to paint. In her imagination she is not clumsy, not butterfingers, not messy. She loves to draw and paint her imagination. She also signs off her painting with a name, that's not Clumsy or butterfingers or messy or slowcoach, but with her real name. Because she has one just like all of us.

The beauty of the story is the message hidden in it. Let's accept all inabilities around us instead of shaming! Let's focus on abilities a person possesses rather than not.

I some times wonder... forget about kids, aren't we adults clumsy at times? It is the time to accept.



Book review contributed by Shital Choudhary
Chief Reviewer at 
Children's Book Reviews & Stories


Shital Choudhary is a passionate storyteller (a Kathalaya Alumina) and a mom to a 6 year old. Apart from power of stories in teaching concepts and values, she believes that stories can come at your rescue absolutely at any situation in your parenting journey. You can reach out to her at storywayschool [AT] gmail.com. She documents her book reviews, recommendations and reading out experiences at her Facebook page - Children's Book Reviews & Stories


This book review is a part of 10 week long project #MondayMorningReviews which is going on in our Facebook Group. Join in the tribe of involved & conscious parents HERE now! You can find ALL the book reviews under this project HERE.

Do not forget to follow us on Facebook page & closed Facebook groupTwitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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Nov 20, 2017

Idli Making - Montessori Inspired Practical Life Activity & Importance For Toddlers (VLOG)

Practical Life Activities are of great importance in Montessori philosophy, specially for young children of 2 - 6 years. We love practical life activities in our home. My toddler is always ready to help me in the kitchen & other household chores. Read on to know what is practical life activity & its importance in early life.



What is Practical Life & Practical Life Activities In A Montessori Environment For Toddlers?

Practical : means basic, useful, purposeful
Life : means the way of living

Practical life exercises are exercises for the child to learn how to do daily routine chores & activities in a purposeful way.
Children, specially toddlers & kindergartners are naturally interested in daily chores. Hence, Dr. Montessori began to use practical life exercises to allow the child to do activities of daily life & therefore adjust himself in his culture & society.

All the materials & supplies of practical life activities should be real, familiar to the child, breakable (if applicable) & functional.

Involving you child in the kitchen is a great practical life activity!

Are you trying to find a way to peacefully cook and also engage your toddler constructively without iPads, TV and screens?

Involve your toddler in the kitchen! It's a great fine motor skill and teaches them life skills. This indirectly also helps in preparing those little fingers for writing, a great pre-writing activity.

We are a great fan of practical life activities and my son loves them.

Watch my 32 month old son making idlis out of the batter. 



You might also like 

Toddler making Omelette
Baking with toddlers
Doing laundry with toddlers
Toddler cutting potatoes for French Fries


Benefits & Importance Of Practical Life Activities In Montessori

The practical life exercises are a beginning point in the Montessori environment. They help the child in his whole development - physical, mental and moral.
  • To develop the child's concentration
  • To develop fine and gross motor skills
  • To help children towards independence
  • To establish order
  • To develop a good self-esteem
  • To appreciate and understand the limits of his environment
  • To develop a sense of responsibility
  • To aid the child in his construction
  • To appreciate culture
Read more about practical life activities in Montessori HERE.

Do not forget to follow us on Facebook page & closed Facebook groupTwitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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Montessori Color Tablets Box 3 - Extensions, DIY & Alternatives (Guest Post By Devi Sekaran)

Montessori Colour Tablets are sensorial materials found in the Montessori 3-6 years classroom. They assist with visual discrimination and perception of colours. They come in three boxes - 1, 2 & 3. Today I have a guest blogger with me - Devi Sekaran, a mom who is passionate about Montessori & does a lot of Montessori inspired works with her kids. Read on to see her kids' experience & extension works with Montessori color box 3, a standard Montessori material used for color gradation. At the end, I will also share an alternative educational material for color gradation & how you can make your own DIY Montessori color tablets using free printables.


Dr. Maria Montessori believed that every child’s sensorial experiences begin when the child is born. And over the years, she created many sensorial materials that covers the five senses: tactile, visual, auditory, olfactory, and gustatory senses. She believed that children should be given as much sensorial experiences as possible. All the materials in a Montessori classroom are carefully designed to incorporate ‘Control of Error’ and to ‘Isolate the Quality’ in order to develop a child’s sense to understand the environment around him or her.

One of my favourite sensorial materials is the Colour Box 3 which is used to develop a child’s visual sense. In a 3-6 Montessori Classroom, a child is introduced to Colour Box 1, then Colour Box 2 and finally Colour Box 3. In our home, we do not have Colour Box 1 and 2 but we do have Colour Box 3 and it has been an amazing addition to our shelf. This material is great for visual discrimination and other extensions involving language and mathematics.



Both my daughters have been introduced to Colour Box 3 in their schools while we use the Colour Box 3 at home to do other extension works. Check out the pictures below on how we use it in our home.

Here my daughter (4 year old) is using the Colour Box 3 and the DIY continent images. She matched the continent images to the colour tablets and continued with grading.






Here, my daughter (5+ years) used the Colour Box 3 and Colour Resemblance Pegs to do colour sorting and as an extension we did skip counting and x7.




Using the Colour Box 3 and Colour Resemblance Pegs, my daughter (5+ years) created this beautiful spiral pattern.




You can read more about Montessori Colour Box 3 HERE.

You can also DIY these color tablets if this sounds expensive to you to buy. HERE is a great DIY tutorial for color box 3. You can download the free printable of color box 3 from HERE.

Happy Montessori-ing!!!

~ DEVI SEKARAN

(The above images belong to Devi Sekaran and should not use for commercial purposes)

Thanks a lot Devi for sharing your wonderful experience & extension exercises with the color box 3. Lots of love to your kids!


Devi Sekaran is a stay at home mom of 3 kids trying to make each day fun with playing, baking & learning with Montessori! You can follow her on Instagram, her handle is @minehisandours. She shares some amazing Montessori inspired activities, DIYs & her food adventures regularly! 

If you have something to share with the world in the domain of early learning or parenting & wish to contribute to this blog, please do get in touch with me HERE.


I love Montessori color box 3 as well & I have a variation of this material from Skola Toys which is called Skola Color Wheels.



You can check out my review of Skola Color Wheels in this video below. It is a great hands on way to practice color gradation. And do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more such reviews, Montessori & Waldorf inspired hands-on activities, and much more!






Do not forget to follow "The K Junction" on Facebook page & closed Facebook group, Twitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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Nov 7, 2017

Tons of Ways To Play With Waldorf Rainbow Stackers - Rainbow Roofs From Skola Toys - Review (VLOG)

skola rainbow roof grimm rainbow stacker how to play review


Are you looking for an open-ended toy for your child which will grow with the child, keep him engaged for longer, enhance his creativity, imagination, spatial intelligence, dexterity & fine motor skills? Then Rainbow Roofs from Skola Toys is the right answer for you because it can entertain & engage your child right from when he is a toddler to a preschooler to a kindergartner to primary school. Read on to know in how many different & creative ways you can play with these stackers!


About Skola Rainbow Roofs

Stack, nest and arrange rainbow coloured roof shapes in various ways.
Skola Rainbow Roofs

Children explore the magic of creating different forms with this toy - a train, a sofa or a building! They like to share this toy with friends and enjoy trying to balance the uneven shapes.

Nesting the pieces in this toy helps in developing fine motor skills at a very young age. Stacking the individual pieces makes children dexterous and hones balancing skills. Playing with the toy enhances their awareness of colours in a concrete manner and various name games hone children's memory skills. Children also gain knowledge about the rainbow in the form of VIBGYOR.

As children start to develop focus and eye-hand coordination, they can move on to using both hands simultaneously to carry out actions or manipulate objects
Rainbow Roofs are perfect for hours & hours of open-ended & free play! This is a variation of the standard Waldorf/Steiner rainbow stacker which is widely sold by Grimm's. This is the Indian answer to Grimm's rainbow stacker and it is far cheaper than Grimm's, did you see Grimm's price tag? ;)




Having said that, the quality of the wood & the finish of the toy is not at compromising. It is made of high quality wood & the paints are non-toxic.

How To Play With Skola Rainbow Roofs

Watch this video to know how you can play in tons of different ways with the Skola Rainbow Roofs. I am sure you will get lots of ideas to include in your free play sessions. 


Skola has designed learning journeys through play & Rainbow Roofs fall into the journey of fine motor skills. 

You might want to read more about learning journeys through play HERE.


Buy Links

You can buy Skola Rainbow Roofs from Amazon or directly from Skola Toys Official Website.



You might want to read more articles & reviews of other Skola toys that we have HERE. Each one of them is very wisely designed & is a treasure! 

Verdict

We love open-ended toys & this one was in my wishlist for long & I could finally lay hands on it & we are absolutely loving it! We make so many different patterns & designs out of it, some of them I have shared in the video above. There is no limit to the possibilities how you can play with this toy, it is only limited by your & your child's imagination. I would highly recommend this toy! #PlayItRight

You might like to read the step by step guide about STEM toys & our favorites & recommendations HERE.


Other Toys From Skola That We Love



 There are some Montessori language materials as well that Skola has - sand paper letters

 

You might also like a bunch of toys & books recommendations for kids HERE.

I hope this post was useful for you. I would love to see how you play with your rainbow stackers in the comments below or on my social media profiles. Feel free to drop relevant links in the comments where I can happily see your ideas to use rainbow stackers!

Disclaimer : This is a sponsored post but the views shared are honest and solely mine. I believe in using the products myself before putting up the review or opinion about them here. 


Do not forget to follow "The K Junction" on Facebook page & closed Facebook group, Twitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!


Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!


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Oct 25, 2017

A Step By Step Guide - What Are STEM Toys For Young Kids & STEM Toy Recommendations



STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEM toys encourage kids to learn more about these different subjects by applying each to the real world. They make education exciting for kids and help to develop key skills. STEM toys focus on creativity and problem solving skills and present clear goals which help kids to learn while having fun. If you are wondering which STEM toys to present to your toddler, preschooler or kindergartner, here are some awesome Science, Engineering & Maths toy recommendations for the little scientists. 


What Are STEM Toys?

STEM is not just about learning Science, Technology, Engineering or Maths, it is about a combination of any of these four areas that when combined, produces more logical thinkers and creates adults who can be ahead in their lives, not just in jobs that are related to science and technology, but in other domains too. In other words, it helps in creating innovators and doers, rather then just followers.

STEM learning actually starts at the age of 7 but the foundations are laid in the very early years of a child's life. Playing with STEM toys from an early age, whether it’s science toys, engineering toys, math toys or technology toys, can have a lasting impact on a child’s thought process and approach to problem-solving and creative thinking, no matter what vocation they land up in.

I do not want to say that STEM toys will make kids into future inventors, programmers, or poets. Boiled down to the basics, STEM toys tend to emphasize creativity, logic, problem solving, and experimentation. Great STEM toys don’t instruct kids, but engage them. These toys are open-ended, adaptive, flexible, provocative, and, most importantly, fun.

The Rise Of STEM Toys

STEM education in schools is now as much a part of the curriculum as English or social studies. There have been some variations like STEAM (“A” for art because creativity is a must in life to excel) and STREAM (“R” for reading because it is one of the foundations in child's learning). This STEM movement is also picking up with parents at home as they try to give exposure of STEM toys to their kids to teach these critical concepts during early years.

STEM toys are fun & facilitate real play. And that is what a child needs at the end of the day - PLAY. Play is the work of the child & it is through play, children explore & figure out the world around them. Play is also very important for their skills like gross motor, fine motor, cognitive, social & emotional. STEM toys help support this philosophy.


What To Look For In STEM Toys & Awesome Skola Toys Recommendations 

STEM toys need not be fancy all the time. According to child development experts, you should look for these qualities while buying STEM toys -

Interactive - It could be a toy to assemble body parts to form an animal figure like this Nesting Hen toy or a simple car set up like Cascade Car toy. The process of building or creating something, taking it apart and rebuilding it in a new way, can facilitate deeper learning and brain development.

Nesting Hen - To balance unevenly sized and weighted eggs in creative ways on the hen. Children get a chance to think of creative ways to balance eggs on the back of the hen. This augments fine motor skills and improves dimension awareness, thus developing their concentration levels. By balancing the eggs, children achieve greater dexterity. Nesting the pieces in this toy helps in developing fine motor skills. It is a simple activity that helps children focus on sizes and dimensions of objects leading to effective spatial analysis. Stacking uneven and distinct objects helps children understand the correlation between sizes and weights. Pairing, size gradation and name games enhance children's awareness of shapes as a property of objects. One can do nesting, name games, gradation, patterns, balancing, abstract pairing & lot more with this toy.




Cascade Cars - To track the movement of the cars as they cascade down the stepped slopes. By letting one or more cars roll down from one slope to another, children learn to focus on moving objects and track the movement. Following the movement of the car improves visual tracking among children, which is essential for improving their reading skills and abilities while playing any physical sport. This toy also leads to awareness of motion and movement as children watch and analyse the movements of the cars as they roll down the slopes. As they push the cars further or hold them back, they understand the impact of their actions on the speed, motion and time factors of the cars. As children begin to develop their visual tracking skills, they get ready to understand the cause and effect phenomenon.






You might also like THIS article on 6 things to consider while choosing a toy for your child & what is wrong with today's toys.


Age Appropriate - A parent should resist the urge to buy STEM toys meant for older children. To help a parent choose age appropriate STEM toys, Skola has designed "Learning Journeys Designed As Play" (read more HERE), and it is very easy to choose the right toy for the child for a given age by the age recommendations that are given by experts in this field.

Child-Led -  Even the greatest STEM toys in the world won’t be of much value to your child if he has not interest in that particular area of learning at that point in time. One should observe the child & understand their sensitive period of learning & see what types of toys and activities your child gravitates to and follow their lead. For example, if your child loves blocks, stock up on basic wooden building blocks or construction toys like Mosaic Nuts & Bolts, which teach basic engineering concepts.

Wooden Building Blocks - 50 wooden coloured blocks of different shapes and sizes to build fascinating structures. This toy happens to be one of the most creative toys that children of all ages can enjoy. These colorful, wooden blocks grab their attention, making children imaginative as well as logical while building different shapes and objects. Constructing with different shapes to form new shapes, sorting, classifying and pairing enhances children's understanding of geometry and creativity. Constructing with wooden blocks of varying geometric shapes, is fantastic for developing fine motor skills. By applying their knowledge of shapes, children get a better understanding of how shapes can have multiple dimensions and numeral values associated with them.




Mosaic Nuts & Bolts - It is a smart toy that combines high dexterity with creativity. The fact that it uses equilateral triangles & rhombuses to create patterns inherently increases the understanding of geometric construction. There is no "prescribed outcomes". The child is free to innovate and create patterns. A practical life toy that uses nut and bolt mechanisms to create a whole range of designs.



Open-Ended - Whether a simple set of building blocks or a multipurpose step tower for stacking, counting, sorting & gradation, or a rainbow stacker, the list of open-ended toys is endless. Toys that can be played with, disassembled, reassembled, and interacted with in a variety of ways are enjoyed by kids of all ages because they work with such toys differently. All this help kids to enhance thrier creativity, exploration, and a deeper understanding of rules, patterns, logic, and how things work.

Rainbow Roofs (Stack & Nest) - Stack, nest and arrange rainbow coloured roof shapes in various ways.Children explore the magic of creating different forms with this toy - a train, a sofa or a building! Nesting the pieces in this toy helps in developing fine motor skills at a very young age. Stacking the individual pieces makes children dexterous and hones balancing skills. Playing with the toy enhances their awareness of colours in a concrete manner and various name games hone children's memory skills. Children also gain knowledge about the rainbow in the form of VIBGYOR.



Step Tower - Stack the step tower to learn ordinal numbers through quantity, dimensions & colours. The toy is a beautiful stacking tower that uses colours, width and height to form different steps ranging from numbers 1 to 10. Stacking these steps help children connect dimensions with quantity. This toy also enhances thinking ability and encourages creative exploration. Step Tower helps children develop ordinal counting skills. It also assists the child in getting a deeper understanding of the correlation between dimensions and sizes of objects and quantities. This toy hence successfully fuses the understanding of sensorial properties of colour and size with numbers.



Toys With Direct STEM Aim - Some STEM toys have a direct aim such as Maths concepts but the key here is toys are supposed to be played. So make sure you choose a toy that teaches the concepts in a playful,creative & engaging manner and not in the rote way.

Peg & Add - Add numbers between 0 and 10 using coloured pegs on wooden decagons. A self-correcting toy, Peg and Add, forms the perfect link between numerals, object counting and addition. Children can add numbers between 0 and 10 using pegs and no matter what combinations they try, they will always find the right answer. It also helps them read addition problems in an equation format. Using pegs makes the abstract arithmetic procedure of addition very concrete, making children enjoy it as they soak it in completely.



Skip Counting Tshirts - Skip count miniature t-shirts sequentially by hanging them to dry on a pole. As children begin playing with this toy, they build a strong foundation of number patterns and sequences, thanks to the numbered T-shirts. Children associate better with an everyday task of drying clothes and enjoy hanging T-shirts with certain fixed patterns on the rod. The geometric symbols help them learn how numbers can be skipped in a pattern, setting a firm base for multiplication.


Scroll & Multiply - Scroll perpendicular mats to slot pegs in rows and columns for multiplication. Children uncover more arithmetic secrets with this toy. As they scroll away the screens based on the rows and columns, they learn to count and add values based on the pegs fitted in the empty slots, which in turn helps them learn multiplication. The toy also exposes them to the numerous multiplication combinations that can be created and helps build logical reasoning. Multiplication is an abstract concept that most children do not visualize but learn by rote. Multiplication by counting and adding gives the child a clear understanding that multiplication is repeat addition. Using pegs for counting and to learn multiplication involves fine motor skills and ensures higher accuracy of results, simultaneously enhancing their writing skills and pincer grip. Children can also use the toy to learn division with the help of physical cues. Performing multiplication and division with this toy helps them understand that the arithmetic processes are the opposite of each other.

 



You might also like a bunch of toys & books recommendations for kids HERE.


How Skola Toys Help In Pre-STEM Learning 

Skola toys helps in preparing a child for STEM learning. Skola’s ultimate aim is to improve fine motor skills which certainly helps in engineering, but more importantly using fingers helps children think clearly and enhances concentration and cognitive ability which is a direct STEM requirement.

As discussed above, cascade cars toy helps a child to understand cause and effect. This is where a child is exposed to science. It helps a child to register concepts, process and comprehend them.

Colour Wheels toy encourages children to use fingers to rotate wheels and then find the matching colours which involves examination, observation analysis and discovery. You can watch the unboxing & review of Color wheels toy in this video below.



To summarize, these common principles of exploration, open-ended play, analysis, discovery, examination, and most importantly the presence of the PLAY element is true for all Skola Toys and hence creates thinkers, innovators & doers in the long run!

Disclaimer : This is a sponsored post but the views shared are honest and solely mine. I believe in using the products myself before putting up the review or opinion about them here. 


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