One of our main focuses here at Connetix is that the toys we create keep children (and the children-at-heart) entertained, encourage STEAM learning, target gross motor and fine motor skills, PLUS support social and emotional development.
What is STEAM learning?
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. It is an essential part of early childhood development. As young children’s brains develop, they are constantly learning. The more encouragement we can give to this learning, the more skills they will develop and the more advanced this development will be. By using open ended toys such as Connetix, children will instinctively explore concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths. Connetix play will provide opportunities for counting, constructing, decision-making, explore different materials, and forces, to name but a few.
It is widely agreed that the most effective way of teaching children is to let them play and investigate for themselves. Even young children can explore complex concepts of gravity, motion and forces – simply by allowing them to experience these concepts in action through play. As people realise how beneficial both play and STEAM projects are, they are becoming more and more popular with educators and those involved with child development.
What are Connetix Motion Bases?
Connetix motion bases feature our unique Connetix bevel tiles, strong magnets and REAL rubber wheels that are ready to explore the most roughest and rugged of terrains. These can be found in our Motion Pack (a great starter pack option which includes a variety of square and rectangle tiles to create a wide range of vehicles), our Car Base Pack (which includes x2 car motion bases and is a great expansion pack option for those who already have a Connetix magnetic tile collection) and our Mega Pack (our 212 piece pack which includes every shape tile in every colour plus x2 car motion bases).
Connetix Motion Bases are open-ended, which means children can build any vehicle or motion-based creation. They are incredibly durable and long-lasting with real rubber wheels, so the vehicle is not confined to the indoors, it can be taken outdoors to explore. What’s more, they encourage children to incidentally explore physics concepts like force and motion (plus so much more!).
Connetix Motion Bases In Play
Connetix Motion Bases are a base upon which children can create a vehicle that encourages all aspects of STEAM learning through play! Have you ever noticed how children love to play with a ball, throwing, catching and rolling it, love to build things and knock them down, and often do something just to see what the outcome will be? They delight in rolling a car to and fro across the floor, and a simple ramp will elicit a shriek of joy when they see the car gaining speed. This is the innate curiosity and inquisitive nature that we are encouraging with our Connetix Motion Bases, giving children the chance to discover educational concepts through imaginative and creative play.
The Connetix Motion Base is a wonderful starting point which can be customised into any vehicle with Connetix tiles, the possibilities for which are endless. Using different shaped tiles, children can make a colourful train, a car, a wagon, a means of carrying animals or their favourite toys… (This is also a great opportunity for teaching children incidentally – for example: colours, shapes and counting).
Our Connetix Motion Bases present children with an exciting challenge to design and construct their own vehicles. Allowing children to create their own vehicles themselves is an excellent way of encouraging cognitive development. This spurs them to use their creativity, imagination and draw on problem-solving skills to fix any issues (maybe they don’t have enough triangles, perhaps their creation needs sturdier internal supports). Once they are satisfied their vehicle is complete, children can test their creation, see if any adjustments need to be made, then take their vehicle all over the house or outside into nature – exploring different surfaces, gradients and obstacles. The learning then continues with investigations of friction, gravity and magnetic forces.
Exploring Force and Motion with Connetix
Let’s explore some physics learning possibilities with our Connetix Motion Bases!
Force and Motion is one of the first (and fundamental) concepts of physics that early learners explore.
What makes things move? Forces! But how many different forces can you think of? There are push forces, pull forces, friction forces, gravity forces, magnetic forces, friction/tension forces, drag forces, air resistance/buoyant forces, applied forces, spring forces. Now think about how these can incidentally be explored through Connetix play!
Young children will learn the difference between pushes and pulls, that they can make things move or stop with their own force, that friction will slow things down, or that if something is dropped or pushed from a height, it will fall.
Here are some simple Force and Motion Games and Experiments to try with Connetix Motion Bases:
- Rolling Start: Find 3 (or more) different surfaces to experiment rolling your Connetix Motion Bases along. You could try this on smooth surfaces like wooden floors, tiles and rough surfaces like carpet or grass. What do you notice about how each Motion Base rolls on each surface?
- Downslide: Find a hill or make a ramp out of something on hand (if you have other Connetix packs you could create a ramp with your tiles! Check out our gallery and Instagram page for inspiration). Roll your Connetix Motion Bases down your ramp. How fast did it roll? What happens if you add extra tiles to your bases? Does it roll faster? How slow can you go?
- Push it Down: Get an empty lightweight bottle and place it a certain distance. Challenge children to knock it over with the Motion Base using push forces.
- Train Freight: Explore pull forces with some themed play. Use your motion bases to create a train or truck. Load up the carriage with other toys and explore moving the Motion Base around. Observe how the carriage is pulled along. How does it move when it has an empty cargo?
- Magnetic forces: What happens if you place two Motion Bases side by side? How close together can you have your Motion Bases rolling side by side WITHOUT them being pulled together by magnetic force?
Children are naturally curious, and here at Connetix Tiles we encourage that curiosity and help children to explore and discover the world through play. We love to see what you and your little ones have created! Visit us on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration and to share your amazing designs.