Things to Do - Magnatiles
As I've spent the last week blogging about highlights from our Thanksgiving road trip to Chicagoland, I thought I'd end the week with a post on the BEST TOY EVER (especially as Christmas approaches). Magnatiles are a magnetic building toy, nothing particularly special or fancy about them. Except that children love them. All children (well, probably ages 2.5 and up). Even our neighbor's 7 year old has spent hours playing with them. And, at social gatherings, we'll often find an adult in the corner looking both embarrassed and amused by the fact that she/he just made a cube. Plus, they work well for travel because all the pieces stick together (unlike legos, which we seem to loose at least 1/3 of every time we open the box). They can literally entertain my kids for hours and they've become a playdate wonder in our house. We have the Magna-Tiles Translucent Colors 100 pieces, but the Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 32 piece set also work well. They also sell a non-translucent version - Magna -Tiles 48 Piece Dx Set, which I find much more aesthetically pleasing, but, on the other hand, my children love to make boxes and look at what they have put inside.
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND EVERYONE!! If you're looking for something to do, we checked out zoolights last Saturday, which was really beautiful this year (but crowded). Admission is free, but you have to pay for parking (which fills up quickly, the majority of spaces were gone by 6:30). Also on Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 (and on Sunday at 1:30 and 3:00) the Arlington Planetarium has a holiday presentation on the solstice that looks really interesting. Click here for more info.
AROUND THE WEB - TWO GREAT ARTICLES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FREEFORM PLAY FOR CHILDREN:
*According to this NPR article, child's play used to be focused on activity rather on the toys (or objects) themselves. This change isn't good. "A growing number of psychologists believe that these changes in what children do has also changed kids' cognitive and emotional development. It turns out that all that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline."
*According to this Frog Design Article (link courtesy of Tinker Lab) children need unstructured play and flexible tools (to encourage creativity). As summarized in the article, "will more focus on standardized curriculum, testing, and memorization provide the skills an emergent workforce needs? Not likely. Play is our greatest natural resource. In the end, it comes down to playing with our capacity for human potential. Why would we ever want to limit it?"
In case you're wondering, yes, I would have loved to show pictures of all the magnificent objects my children have created with Magnatiles, but unfortunately I only took pictures on one night. And on that night P insisted on showing me where each and every princess resided in the castle. Every one. This took over thirty minutes as P knows a lot of princesses. And let's not even get started on the dragons or this post would be longer than anyone could ever read.