Monday, July 19, 2010
Fitting Imagination, Reading, and Play in Your Carry-On
With so many folks traveling in the summer (myself included) I like to share tricks I’ve learned for keeping my preschooler busy whether it’s in the back-seat, on an airplane, or in the living room waiting for guests to arrive. Top That! Publishing has a huge selection of magnetic play and learning books that I love! We own On the Farm, Wild Animals, and Let’s Build, Each includes a story on board book quality magnetic pages as well as a fold out scene for imaginative play and an attached case to hold the 20 play scene magnets.
Fantastic Features of These Books:
- Wordless 3-panel play scene encourages imaginative, open-ended play that does not require direct adult participation for non-readers.
- Magnetic pages allow play on the move (though they’re not super strong – if you drop them on the floor of the car, the magnets will fall off).
- Text of stories introduces contextual vocabulary, and then matching magnets help children identify and interact with new words.
- Manipulation of magnets and placement in scenes encourages physical dexterity and fine-motor-skill development.
- All pieces can be neatly stowed in attached case, helping to prevent loss and frustration.
I’m starting to feel like this review is bordering on sounding like an advertisement, which it’s not. I have no connection with Top That! I did go check out their website to look at some other products, but my links are my normal Amazon affiliate links. I’m hoping the reps at Top That! enjoy my review and might send me something else to share with you, but that may be wishful thinking...
Your Child Makes the Story Complete
In each book, the text of the story identifies where items or characters are located and the actions that are taking place. Your child uses the magnets to complete the illustrations so that the pictures correctly illustrate the text. That’s not to say you couldn’t add whatever magnets looked nice, but B is in a stage that he has realized text has meaning, and he’s emphatic that I read it carefully with him and make sure we choose the correct pieces. When I’m not able to participate closely (i.e., I’m driving) he can open up the play scene and make up his own story. Sometimes he narrates has he goes, and sometimes he creates the scene then describes it for me afterward.
I usually try to limit our packing to one play set when we travel, but at home they sometimes come out all at once. The wild animals have visited the farm and a cow has shown up on the building site – that’s part of the creativity! The Funny Faces series looks adorable and I’m intrigued by the Play and Learn Series, which includes text and magnets that introduce concepts such as shapes, numbers, colors, and first words. I may have to order a new one before our next trip, because as we know, something new is twice as entertaining!
Appropriate for: toddlers (if they’re supervised and past the stuff-in-mouth stage), preschoolers, primary grades.