During this past weekend, I went on the search for toys, crafts, and games that I can use during this time when we are staying at home. Besides homework packets my 5 year old received, I still believe in play as an effective way to learn. This is my fourth Picasso Tiles review and I love the company and the products they offer to promote STEAM education. My boys received the Nuts and Bolts Building Blocks set from Picasso Tiles and it has been a great learning toy that has kept them entertained and engaged. Not only do I love when toys allow for open-ended play, but I also love when you can use it for multiple settings.
First, I love how it comes with an illustrated idea book that offers a variety of building options such as a car, dog, robot and airplane for examples. It doesn’t give you the steps but it does tell you how many pieces you need. I loved this because it requires the child to critically think about where they should begin to build. It also allows for children to use their imagination and create something new.
Secondly, this is a perfect toy for OT support. Since there are multiple steps involved this helps my 5 year old practice sequencing which is something he needs for OT support. We get to practice steps and what step comes next. He also gets to work on his fine motor development by utilizing both hands, and using his strength to turn the bolts. If he chooses to use the illustrated idea book, he has to practice mirroring and making sure that the models look the same.
Thirdly, I like to take learning toys and find an alternative uses for them. In this case for my three year old, I created a puzzle with the pieces. I traced them and set them aside so he can match the pieces. We can work on counting, geometric shapes, identifying colors, and working on making letters with them. I can challenge them both by placing a certain number of blocks and asking them to create a letter or design.
Lastly, I love the imagination and creativity of this open ended toy that helps to support STEM education. They have created a “taxi plane” and they go around putting their tiny figures on it. They remove the wheels and now they turn it into a boat. When we created robotic pets with them, they used them like you would a stuffed animal. But then they added anchors, which served as a seat, and now they were vehicles for their super heroes. This is a foundational skill to support STEM education. This is what I love with this multifunctional toy. In fact, all of the Picasso Tiles toys I have received provide this opportunity for STEM growth.