Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Magnetix Play

Sometimes I get a little idea...which grows into a kind of bigger, crazy idea. Sometimes it all works beautifully, sometimes not, but usually something good comes out of it. This was one of those times!

Last Christmas I received a set of Christmas themed cookie cutters. Really cute and with big and small cutters for each shape. The other day I suddenly remembered that I even owned these, and thought they may be fun for Tyler to match-up. I found them right away and looked through the box with an excited Ty. We labeled each shape, I showed him how there were small and big for each and casually demonstrated matching and nesting the matches inside of each other. I then thought that I could make it all more exciting by tracing the shapes onto paper so that he could match them that way. I also wanted him to be able to hang them somehow. I couldn't say why, I just did. Nails in the wall? Yeah, probably not a good idea. Looking around I noticed his Magnetix magnets and the long rods within the set. He could hang them from those perhaps? On a cookie sheet? No, no, no...refrigerator! By this time it was time for nap and off Tyler went with my husband. I tested out my plan. It worked! I mean, Ty would have to be careful so as not to knock the rods off of the fridge, but part of Montessori is learning to be careful, right? I got busy, knowing this could look really cool. In my head I knew it may really not work, but I couldn't help wanting to see the finished project.

After a good twenty minutes of tracing, writing, placing and centering the paper, finding my old locker keeper from 17 years ago and engineering a way to keep it on the fridge to hold the cookie cutters, it was finished. I beamed. Beautiful!

 When Ty woke we did his balloon rocket activity I posted about earlier, then I showed him the work. He was pretty excited...until he tried to really do it. The magnets on the end of the rods kept catching on the cookie cutters, a problem that I didn't have. I tried to stick putty over the ends to avoid the issue but as I tried to fix it, another problem quickly popped up. He was trying to be careful, but the rods were easily knocked down and off of the fridge. Ty stuck with it for quite a while, though I secretly wished that he would quit. I kept trying to help and make it work for him, rescuing and replacing rods, but I knew it was a fail. When he stopped, I promptly removed the papers and arranged them on the floor and demonstrated how to match them there we were trying to do on the fridge.. Ehh, not interested. The moment had passed and he moved on to something else. Blech. It didn't feel good.

 A while later he came back to the fridge and began randomly playing with the magnets. I wanted to give him something purposeful to do with them if he pleased. I quickly traced a circle onto paper and taped it to the fridge, showing him how he could place the rods onto the line of the circle to, well, make a circle.

He wasn't especially into what I demonstrated, but he really liked the circle, putting the rods mostly inside of the circle and counting them each as he placed them. Well that's not so bad, huh?!

Later I decided to draw dots inside the circle to form a happy face and showed him how to place a rod on each dot to make the face. He thought this was pretty cool, but didn't seem to grasp the concept. Just before bed though, he surprised me by heading to the fridge and doing it...and he did it well!

Tyler's Magnetix smiley face

The next morning he fiddled around with the magnets and discovered a few different ways that he could play with them on the fridge!  

Though I don't have a photo of any of his creations (this is clearly my "art" above), Ty also learned through experimenting that you can lay the Magnetix flat on the fridge, and that if the poles push away from each other, one rod will literally race straight off of the fridge! Pretty neat.

I love how many creative ways we can use these magnets and am so glad that I followed through on a bit of a flaky idea. We never would have discovered a new, exciting way to spice up our Magnetix use otherwise!

For a look at how I introduced Tyler to these Magnetix at 20 mos, and how we had been using them since then, you can take a look at this old post. Please remember that magnets can be dangerous if swallowed so know your child and always supervise magnet activities with young children!

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