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Ten Great Multi-Age Tactile Learning Toys

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I have three kids. Just in case you didn’t know, I wanted to get that out on the table right now. Buying toys for three kids is torture for me. I absolutely LOATHE when any of my kids get a toy that will only serve one purpose. Part of that, I suppose, is the fact that I’m cheap. Seriously, though, if I bought every new “cool” toy that my kids drooled over, we’d be broke and buried in broken plastic parts.

And, honestly, between just birthdays and Christmas, we’re buried anyway. In recent years, though, I’ve begun to fight back. My tactile learners {Trevor and Logan} love to play to learn, so I make sure that any toy that comes into the house {with a few exceptions} can serve multiple purposes or be used by two or more kids. That’s another thing, our toys, again with a few exceptions, are community property. If everyone can’t enjoy them in someway, then we don’t have the space to give to them.

In celebration of my friend Stef’s new TACTILE TUESDAY, and linking up with Angie’s TOP TEN TUESDAY, here are my newest favorite multi-purpose toys.

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
 
 

1. LEGO Bricks: Now, I have to be honest – there are a few things I dislike about these tiny building blocks. I really hate that Lego sells their bricks primarily in kits that are so incredibly marketed to my children. It has taken a long time to convince Trevor that he is creative enough to just build. He was convinced for a long time that he needed directions to create something. Since she has seen Trevor build great things, though, Molly comes up with amazing creations of her own. Logan, too, loves building with Lego. In fact, she refused to ever play with Duplo because she wanted to build with her big brother and big sister.

While the kids mostly use their Lego to build and play, Trevor has come up with some amazing displays for Geography Club out of bricks, including a model of the Solomon Islands complete with a smoking off-shore volcano {dry ice}. So, while I recommend Lego for all ages {but watch little ones who like to put toys in their mouths}, I love loose Lego bricks and not kits.

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2. WEDGITS: These fabulous blocks nest together, stack, and wedge to create strong 3-D sculptures. While there is a junior set, you don’t really need it, though you may want to put the teeniest piece away until your little one gets bigger. While Trevor built, Molly and Logan teethed on ours, passed objects through them as they learned about spatial relationships, and our finally building cool things themselves.

 
 

3. PERFECTION: I love this game! My visual-spatial, tactile, competitive nine year old tries to get all the pieces in faster and faster each time. My four year old sets the timer and sees how many she can get in before it pops, keeping track of her “record.” My two year old loves to fit the pieces in their correct spot like a puzzle, then set the timer and let all of the pieces pop out. One game, three different ways to play for three kids. The best part – Molly can grow into the way Trevor plays, and Logan can grow into both Molly’s and Trevor’s methods. This game will be played with for years! {Note: I linked to the “Fun on the Run” version because that’s the one we use. It tucks easily in a drawer, and is the perfect size.

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4. 3D FEEL AND FIND: This Guidecraft hardwood game is fabulous. I bought it for Logan, knowing that it would be a great tactile game for both Trevor and Molly, too. Small “puzzles” come in a canvas bag. The game is played by reaching in and feeling your piece and finding its base. When you make a match, you keep your pieces. Trevor and Molly both love to do that. Logan loves when I spread the bases out and give her a basket of pieces to fit into their puzzles.

Guidecraft Touch and Feel

 
 

5. CITIBLOCS: I’ll admit that I bought these originally because I liked them. I thought the natural wood and simplicity of the blocks would be a nice change of pace from the toys with bells and whistles that the kids were used to playing with – and I was right. There was something about them that captivated all three kids as soon as the box was opened. They’re rugged and come with a great idea book full of amazing things you can build with these blocks – all of which are the same size and shape.

Citiblocs

 

6. CONNECT FOUR: This is another great game that spans ages. Logan exercises her fine motor skills by putting the pieces in the slots, and flipping the switch to let them fall. Molly works on pattern-building with the game board as her grid. Trevor and his ultra-competitive personality challenges me to games as often as he can.

Connect Four

 
 

7. SIDEWALK CHALK: This is a fabulously cheap thing to pick up, and it is so versatile. Is your kinesthetic learner having trouble with math today? Have him go outside and write his answers on the sidewalk. Your preschooler can practice her letters, and your toddler can draw shapes. Need some exercise? Make a hopscotch game. Draw a foursquare court. Sketch out a city for the kids to ride their bikes through. Or just draw. Every home needs sidewalk chalk.

Sidewalk Chalk

 

8. MAGNETIC MATCH RINGS: While I originally picked this puzzle up for Trevor, I was surprised by how much the girls loved it. Molly is learning so much from it, and Logan enjoys watching the magnets bounce off of one another. The object is to match the puzzle card by flipping magnets so they “float” {repel} or stack {attract}. Watching the girls figure out how to work the two poles of a magnet has been really cool.

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9. PATTERN BLOCKS: I personally think that every home should have pattern blocks. You can toss a pile on a table and all ages can sit together to create a mosaic of colors and shapes. Pattern blocks make it easy for kids to learn their shapes. “Logan, will you hand me the tan rhombus?” There are tons of printables online to download and print patterns, puzzles, and pictures. All three of my kids routinely ask to play with these.

Pattern Blocks

 
 

MASTERMIND: This is another one of those games that I let all three of my kids play with in very different ways. I love Mastermind. I used it in the classroom when I taught gifted kids because it is such a fun way to teach deductive reasoning. The logical thinking involved in this game is unparalleled. Trevor challenges me, Brian, Grandpa, and anyone else who will sit still long enough. He loves the thinking involved in the game. Molly enjoys making a pattern and explaining it to me so I can rebuild it. She also makes “pictures” with the pegs. Logan {with supervision} puts the tiny pieces in the tiny holes. Really tough fine motor for that little one!

Mastermind

 

These are just a few of the things we play with {believe me, I haven’t completely tackled the over-flowing toy room!}, but they are some of the things I love best because they’re fun, serve multiple purposes, adapt to different ages, and are well-made and durable. Do you have tactile toys that you love for all your kids?

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Colleen

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