By Emma @play_at_home_mummy
As a trained Early Childhood and Primary teacher, as well as a homeschooling mother, I believe our collection of Connetix tiles is one of the most valuable educational resources we have in our home.
Not only do all my children LOVE playing with them, and do so daily, but they are SO educationally rich. I’m going to outline here for you how they support my children’s development, as well as their education, and I’ll do a little round up of our favourite ways to use them as well!
Developmental benefits of Connetix tiles
- Fine motor skills – it is so important for children to get plenty of practice working the small muscles of their hands and fingers. These muscles are not only important for practical life tasks, but are necessary for writing. Building up these muscles promotes dexterity, muscle tone and stamina (meaning that hand muscles are less likely to fatigue in later schooling years, when children are required to write more/for long periods). Connetix tiles build these muscles because they require precise grabbing and placement when used.
- Problem solving skills – problem solving skills are integral to all future life tasks, both in schooling and in practical life. Connetix tiles promote problem solving because they are open ended, meaning that children are required to devise the ways that they will play with them. This promotes a natural need to problem solve! Some of the questions children will need to ask themselves when playing with Connetix include:
- What will I do/make?
- What shapes will I use?
- Where will I place the tiles?
- How will I fix this? (when problems arise during construction/play)
- Language skills – whether playing solo or with siblings/friends, Connetix tiles require children to describe what they are doing/how they are doing it, talk about their constructions, describe their choices, navigate and articulate their thoughts, and negotiate social struggles.
- Independent play – the open ended nature of Connetix tiles means that they lend themselves perfectly to promoting and practising independent play. There is no ‘one way’ to play with them, meaning children are required to decide how they will play, what they will build, and how long they will play for – all essential skills for a child to be able to play independently.
- Persistence and perseverance – children will be required to trouble shoot every time they play with Connetix tiles. The process of running into a problem, devising ways to solve it, and successfully overcoming/fixing the problem, is integral to learning. This process is engaged in a safe, risk-free way every single time a child engages with Connetix tiles, giving them so many opportunities to practise persisting and persevering with problems they come across.
Educational benefits of Connetix tiles
- Mathematical thinking + talking – Connetix tiles promote so much amazing mathematical thinking and vocabulary. The ability to think mathematically is at the very core of maths education, and when using Connetix tiles children need to problem solve, describe, think critically and creatively – honing their mathematical thinking skills.
- 2D shape recognition and exploration – The range of 2D shapes that make up a collection of Connetix tiles mean that children are exposed to and familiar with 2D shapes in a concrete way, giving them plenty of opportunity to study and absorb the different properties of each shape, as well as the ways that 2D shapes relate to 3D objects.
- 3D object recognition and exploration – the ability to create 3D objects and structures with Connetix tiles gives children an un-paralleled insight into the properties and designs of 3D objects. By creating and manipulating these objects themselves, they are making meaningful connections which mean that more, and more complex, neural pathways of understanding are formed.
- Manipulating concrete materials – manipulating concrete materials is the single most important part of early mathematical skill development. When children engage multiple senses in play, they develop more complex understandings about the world and how things work. Connetix tiles allow for so much concrete manipulation and exploration, meaning that children are able to form a multifaceted understanding of their work.
Some of our favourite ways to use Connetix tiles
- Giant rainbow frames
- Colour sorting boxes
- Giant houses/structures
- Rainbow doorway
- Metal basket grid building
- Word building