1. Wooden Number Puzzle and Wooden Alphabet Puzzle- There are tons of number & alphabet puzzles out there, but the reason I like these two is because under each letter there is an object that starts with that letter or a number of objects that matches the correct number. What makes these puzzles extra challenging is that neither of these puzzles use colors to match the number/letter to the correct location. I like this because I know it’s so easy just to be conditioned to match the colors, and I want Dutch to learn the actual application of both numbers and letters.
2. Wooden Color Caterpillar- We’ve had this cute little caterpillar for a while and we are still having fun with it. It’s great for learning color identification and matching, but also really helpful for motor skills and coordination.
3. Abacus- I honestly didn’t get this for learning so much as a piece for decoration (hahahahahahaha). But it has turned out to be a really fun tool for counting the beads and identifying colors. Also as we dive more into math problems this will come in handy.
4. Wooden Bead Sequencing Set- This is new to our home school hour, so Dutch is really loving this a lot right now and asking to play with it a lot. In this set there are several wooden cards of patterns that the child has to select the correct bead and stack. Why we love this one, is because there is color and shape identification, matching, and motor skill building. I also like that the card gives rules and Dutch has to follow the rules to get it correctly; this is a great character building tool.
5. Wooden Animal Tiles- There are 2 tiles of each animal with the name of each animal written at the bottom. The wording is helping with letter identification and reading. What I normally do is put one of each animal tile on a cookie sheet and give the rest to Dutch in a bag. He draws out a tile from the bag and has to match it on top of the correct animal on my cookie sheet. When he correctly identifies the animal we talk about what the animal looks like and the sounds it makes. This is a very fun game with him right now.
6. Jumbo Shape Wooden Puzzle- We are not using this puzzle as much anymore because Dutch has mastered his shapes, but this puzzle was a big deal for a while. It’s a great puzzle with larger pieces for kiddos who are still developing basic motor skills and learning shapes. The bold colors are also great for learning colors.
7. Wooden Geometric Stacker- I originally purchased this when I was teaching because it’s a great cognitive psychology analogy for problem solving (Google Tower of Hanoi for more details), but now I use it mostly for teaching Dutch. We have to match up similar shapes, stack in the correct order from small to big or big to small, put all of the colors together (e.g. all of the yellows or all of the blues, etc.). I figure that later we can introduce the great Tower of Hanoi to him.
8. Wooden Counting Kit- At first this one seems a bit advanced for Dutch, and some parts of it is (e.g. math equations), but some of it we are using already. We can easily identify colors, match different colored sticks together, and identify numbers. What we’re doing for math right now is having piles of different amounts of sticks and counting them. For example, “We counted 3 green sticks and 4 red sticks, so that means we have 7 sticks”. You get the idea; basic math and laying a foundation for bigger math problems later.
These are our favorite home school tools :-)
I recently ordered several different batches of flash cards for Dutch so we’re using those right now. But what other things are you using that you think we could use and have fun learning with?????