Read on to find out some of the ways we use our open ended wooden toys - the Grimms weather set, Grimms rainbow and Grapat perpetual calendar, to learn about our world in a playful way.
Learning Through Play with Open-Ended Toys
We adore our open ended toy collection at our house because of the many ways these toys can be used for play and learning. One of the ways we like to use our Grimms and Grapat wooden toys is for learning about the seasons and the weather. Playing with these toys is a beautiful and hands on way of learning about the world around us.
Where we bought our wooden toys:
Our Grimms weather set was bought from My Cubby Hauz and has led to lots of imaginative play about the changing weather, from storms, to sun and rain.
Our Grimms large rainbow was bought from Honey Bee Toys.
Our Grimms sunset rainbow and Treaures From Jennifer Weather Chart were bought from Oskars Wooden Ark.
Read on to see some of the ways we play and learn with these beautiful and colourful open-ended learning resources.
Seasonal and Calendar Display
At home we have a space set up for our calendar area. It has changed over time, but right now it is on a shelf very close to the floor to allow the girls to sit and explore.
In this area we usually have:
Our Grapat Perpetual Calendar with Nins
Two Little Ducklings Seasons flash cards
Some props - trees (Papoose brand and the others homemade).
Items collected from nature.
Treasures from Jennifer weather chart
This is also a great area to add in any treasures collected from nature - e.g. leaves, pinecones, flowers etc. As you can see in the photo, Miss 5 has added some leaves and a large piece of bark here. The smaller treasures that she collects are in a little tray near our door, as they are too small to have where Miss 2 might reach them. Things like rocks, pebbles, and pinecones are in the tray at the moment.
The Grapat perpetual calendar makes a great hands on way to be able to see, play and begin to understand the months and seasons of the year. The Nins colou up in colours to the seasons of the year. e year. year. year. ear. ar. r. .
Here we used:
A picture book about current season - We have the Millie-Mae book set of 4 seasons books.
Papoose Autumn trees
Grimms pebbles in Autumn colours
Grimms Casa Sola
Grapat Nins in Autumn colours.
This is a quick an easy way to show your child the change of the seasons in a visual way. It also doubles as a quick invitation to play. If you are short of space, using the spaces you already have e.g. on top of the play kitchen is great way to make the most of the space that you do have.
Creative and imaginative play using weather items
The Grimms weather set and rainbow are both great open-ended toys that can be used in a range of ways for imaginative and creative play. Below I started creating on the floor with our Grimms rainbow and some of our Grapat mandala pieces. Miss 5 was quick to join in and enjoyed adding to the creation. She ended up playing with this as a garden and added in the Grapat mandala rainbow eggs for an Easter hunt in the garden.
These toys have been used in a range of ways in child-led play too. Miss 5 enjoys changing the weather pieces as she plays to show the changes in the weather.
Seasons Story Basket with Props
The weather set pairs perfectly with books about changes to the Seasons. This book called "All Through the Year" by Jane Goodwin, is a beautiful book about the changes that happen over the year in the Australian seasons.
We paired this book with some props in a basket including:
4 Grapat Nins in the colours of the seasons
Grimms weather set
Papoose Autumn and Spring trees
Winter trees (a Christmas decoration from Kmart)
Autumn leaves collected from outside
Miss 5 ended up using these props as part of her play with a castle, roads, dinosaurs and the Nins. The trees formed the castle gardens and the weather set was used to change the weather during her play. There were storms and snow, followed by sun.
Small World Play
These open-ended toys are great for using when setting up small world play. Here we used our large Grimms rainbow and Grimms sunset rainbow with the weather set to create a little small world shelf for Miss 5 to play with with her giraffes. She enjoyed playing imaginatively here and added in many of her own props.
The Grimms weather set work well with books about the weather. Miss 5 enjoys reading her book - 'Questions and Answers about Weather'. Below we set up our open ended wooden toys with the weather book as a way to learn about the weather. This little set up was on the top of our cube shelves. We also added in a couple of animal figurines to invite play.
Miss 5 also enjoyed using these props to do a pretend weather report, after watching a series of Play School episodes about weather and doing a weather report.
Toy Shelf Rotation
We rotate our open ended toys on our toy shelves to renew interest and invite more play. On the shelf set up below we set up a Summer beach small world on the top shelf, including some of the weather items and a Summer beach house for the Grapat Nins and Grapat Lola to live in. This was enjoyed by Miss 4, who added in many more toys and enjoyed playing at the beach.
This was another great way to explore the Seasons. Here we were building on Miss 4's interest in the seasons. We used our Two Little Ducklings seasons cards, with our Grapat perpetual calendar to talk about the seasons.
The Grapat perpetual calendar makes a great hands on way to be able to see, play and begin to understand the months and seasons of the year. The Nins colours match up to the seasons of the year.
We changed the Nins on our calendar to match the colours with the seasons.
Summer - yellow and orange
Autumn - red and brown
Winter - blue and purple
Spring - green
After we had matched the Nins to the seasons cards, we did a hunt around the house to find items to match each season, using things such as trees, Grimms Casa Coral, Grimms pebbles, Santa, flowers, shells etc. We talked about how the seasons repeat through each year in the same order. Miss 4 talked about the changes that happen to the tree in our backyard and we talked about the weather too.
Once we had finished matching and talking about the seasons, Miss 4 added in more toys (her Frozen figurines) and made a seasons small world.
*All the above play invitations and activities were supervised by an adult. Please follow directions on products for age recommendations and how to use. Small parts for ages 3+.
Open ended toys are wonderful for not only playing, but for inviting children to learn more about our beautiful world. I hope you have found an idea or two about how you can use the Grimms weather set, rainbow and Grapat perpetual calendar to invite playful learning. The above ideas would work with any brand of rainbow and some weather props could be made from cardboard and painted by your child. A perpetual calendar could also be a DIY using wooden peg dolls and some paint. There are many possibilities.
Until next time, have fun learning in a playful way xx
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