Let’s cut to the chase here: I’ve been drooling over Spielgaben for years.
As a school psychologist and homeschool mom to three kiddos, I am constantly on the hunt for high-quality, educational materials that encourage play and creativity. Spielgaben fits the bill, without question.
I first heard of Spielgaben back in 2013, before we started homeschooling. It was love at first sight… and yet, to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t justify the high price tag. It’s not like I was homeschooling or anything.
Fast-forward to 2014 when I found myself suddenly, unexpectedly, homeschooling. I took to the internet and once again I was flooded with images of homeschoolers using Spielgaben. I pored over them but still could not justify the price. After all, I was only homeschooling one child and I had already spent too much on impulsive first-year curriculum-related purchases.
Later, we added two more homeschoolers to our fold. Still, I hesitated. Does Spielgaben “count” as homeschool curriculum? Would we use it enough to justify the cost? Would the kids love it as much as I assumed I would?
*Disclosure: I received a Spielgaben set in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review and, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only choose to share resources that I would use with my own family and those that I believe other families will enjoy. We absolutely adore this set. You’ll be seeing more of it on this site so stay tuned!
Using Spielgaben in Your Homeschool
Have you spent the last few years drooling over Spielgaben sets on the internet? Have you hemmed and hawed over whether you should go for it? Whether it would be worth it? Whether you would use it?
Today I am sharing the scoop on Spielgaben… and I have a lot to share! I’m going to tell you all about Spielgaben, whether or not it is worth the price, our family’s thoughts, and how we plan to use Spielgaben in our homeschool over the coming year.
Plus, Spielgaben has a special offer for My Little Poppies readers so please keep reading!
What is Spielgaben?
At first glance, Spielgaben appears so simple …
… and yet the set offers a sophisticated approach to child development for children ages 3-12 years.
Spielgaben is based on Frederick Froebels’s “play gifts,” which were originally developed in the early 1800s. Froebel was a German educator and founder of kindergarten. Froebel is often considered a forefather of the Montessori philosophy. He believed that young children learn best through hands-on, creative discovery and play. Froebel created his “play gifts,” sets of simple open-ended manipulatives, to be used in his kindergartens.
This modern Spielgaben set is absolutely stunning. And not only is it beautifully designed, but it offers countless learning opportunities for your children as they play, manipulate objects, and get lost in a world of imagination.
Here is what is included in the Spielgaben set:
The Spielgaben set is housed in wooden drawers, and is made from non-toxic and sustainable materials. Recommended for ages 3-12, Spielgaben includes 14 play sets to be used in sequence in a developmentally appropriate manner.
The set comes with colorful and comprehensive play guides. The play guides provide tons of inspiration along with step-by-step instructions and photos to help you facilitate learning in the following areas:
- imagination and creativity
- fine motor skills
- sensory play
- STEM skills
- … and more!
In addition to the play guides, the set includes inspiration cards and activity sheets for open-ended play and exploration.
And, if that wasn’t enough, the Spielgaben website offers links to countless learning examples from across the interwebs!
What will children learn when using Spielgaben
There are countless benefits to using these high-quality, open-ended materials:
- Children learn through play. It is often said that play is the science of childhood and Spielgaben offers a wealth of play opportunities.
- Open-ended, loose-part resources allow for creativity and imagination. With this set, the sky is the limit!
- Children will learn math and science concepts through exploration of solids of various shapes and sizes. Kids will be able to sort, compare, order, and pattern a variety of objects.
- Spielgaben provides countless opportunities to problem solve. This allows children to grow in confidence and to build those important logic and reasoning skills.
- Children develop language skills when they immerse themselves in play. They learn to express themselves and problem-solve.
- This set is designed to complement your child’s developmental level. The more you play with this set, the more you realize its limitless possibilities. This is a resource that will grow with your family.
How to use Spielgaben
When Spielgaben arrived on our doorstep, I was completely overwhelmed. Overwhelmed in a good way, mind you, but overwhelmed nonetheless.
There is a lot to explore with this set!
The play guides offer oodles of helpful advice and strategies for beginning Spielgaben in your home including the following suggestions:
- Read all materials
- Plan your introduction
- Plan time to use the set
- Use sets #1 to #10 in sequential order
- Start with a lower level of play and build over time
- Allow for repetition of play
- Plan and prepare, but remain flexible
- Do not assess or advise, but rather admire and suggest.
- Be patient.
- Encourage children to put toys away as part of their play.
- Keep a record of what your child creates
When our set arrived, I let the children explore it. I sat back, coffee in hand, and watched their play. It is wonderful to witness children lost in play. It brings me such joy as a mom and educator.
What did the kids think?
Well, they say a picture is worth 1,000 words…
They loved it!
My 9-year-old used the set to write the message above. Then, he constructed a trumpet because the child loves noise!
My 7-year-old is an animal lover and so it was no surprise to me that she worked her way through all of the animal play invitations.
And my math-loving 5-year-old exercised his fine motor skills by creating the numbers 1-12!
What did this homeschool mama think?
Those who know me in real life know that I am super-picky when it comes to toys. I honestly believe that children do not need oodles and oodles of toys. I have found that my children play more with less.
As an educator and homeschool mom, here’s what I look for when it comes to educational toys and materials:
- I want them to be high-quality and durable. It needs to withstand three rambunctious kiddos
- I want something that is easy to clean up/store.
- It should appeal to both boys and girls and multiple age levels
- I love open-ended toys that can be used in a variety of ways
- I want it to be something that my kiddos can’t resist, something that they will play with over and over again
- The best educational toys work on a host of skills including but not limited to:
- Verbal skills
- Early literacy skills
- Creativity and imagination
- STEM skills
- Social skills
- Collaboration/cooperative play
Spielgaben delivers on all counts, just as I suspected it would. It’s every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be when I was drooling over internet photos!
How we are planning to use Spielgaben in our homeschool…
I am so excited to share strategies for using Spielgaben in your homeschool. If you have been following this site, you know that we love fantastic read alouds and educational games… and pairing the two!
Spielgaben is perfect for this and, in the coming months, I will be sharing how our family takes our read alouds to the next level with play, using Spielgaben. Stay tuned for this monthly series!
So, is it worth the money?
Let’s face it: Spielgaben is pricey. The question of whether or not Spielgaben is worth the price is going to depend on your unique family, financial, and educational situation.
- This is a beautifully designed, high-quality, comprehensive set made with non-toxic and sustainable materials.
- If you consider Spielgaben curriculum, which I do, the price is comparable to some of the popular boxed curriculums on the market today.
- The set grows with your family. Designed for ages 3-12, this is not a resource that you will outgrow in a year.
- Truly, I believe the possibilities are limitless with this set. I have more ideas than I know what to do with, quite frankly.
- The price tag. At just under $500, Spielgaben is an investment for sure.
- The size and weight of this set should be a consideration when purchasing.
Here’s a special offer for My Little Poppies readers…
Learn more about Spielgaben
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool and GeekMom. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, and Scary Mommy. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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