School Day

I am always on the lookout for new ideas for our school day. I have just come to LOVE activities that keep the kids entertained, yet teach them something. I first heard of this item on another blog I read, and began researching it. I was dismayed to find how ridiculously expensive they are, but loved the concept behind it. It is called a cylinder block, and comes in a set of 4 blocks, with each having 10 cylinders. The amazing thing is that each cylinder will only fit into 1 hole in 1 one of the blocks, so they are all unique, and it makes the activity challenging. Some are slender, while some are wide, some are short, while some are tall, and every mixture in between. It teaches a lot of things--hand-eye coordination, prep for holding a pen or pencil properly later, size and shape differentiation, and focus. The activity is easy enough that I can give my 2 yr old 1 block and have her do those cylinders, and you can increase the challenge accordingly. 4 yr old JR can do 2-3 simultaneously, and as they get better and faster, you can dump and mix all 4 block's cylinders and try to replace them. You can have races to see who can do it fastest. S and I actually did that today, by dumping and mixing all 4 and timing each other. (I almost won, until I accidently dropped a cylinder into a hole that was too deep. I had to dump the thing to get it out and that cost seconds!) This activity is currently one of my favorites for the kids. It is just amazing how M can walk up, pick up a cylinder, and drop it immediately into the correct hole. It really improves the fine motor skills, and it has done so quickly for my kids!

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