Special needs expert (and mom!!) uses Magformers to help her child develop essential learning skills.
Parents of children with special needs often struggle to find toys their child can easily and safely use. Some of their struggles include finding toys their child can manipulate and enjoy while also stimulating learning. Teachers also struggle with supplying their classroom with toys all children can use together.
We received this 30-piece Rainbow Magformers Building Set from Educents to test and review. I was immediately captured by the vibrant colors. Upon merely viewing the sizes of the shapes, I knew my son would be able to enjoy this toy without safety concerns.
How to use Magformers with a child with special needs
Below are suggestions for using this kit with a child who requires extra support.
1- Begin with one shape.
Since the kit contains two shapes (square and triangle), I recommend beginning with the square since all sides are equal, have right angles, are easiest to replicate through drawing. Have the child trace the shape with his finger (do it hand-over-hand, if necessary). Encourage him to name the shape and to trace it on paper before asking him to draw it freehand. See how many different connections can be built with squares alone. Don’t insist on 3D buildings just yet. Simply connecting two or more squares and laying them flat is great practice for a child with fine motor difficulties.
2- Focus on colors.
Combine the two shapes when introducing colors. Begin by only introducing one color by laying the shapes flat on a table. Name the color. Eventually, have the child sort colors and connect shapes of the same color. Keep the shapes flat as each shape is double-sided and possesses two different colors.
3- Provide step-by-step visual instructions.
When the child is ready to begin building 3D shapes, provide step-by-step visuals by taking photos of the steps, printing, and laminating them. Alternatively, you can keep the sequence on a tablet for the child to follow. The kit includes an idea booklet that could be enlarged. However, for beginners, I suggest breaking up each step further than what is provided.
Why Magformers are excellent for a child with special needs
- Pieces are large enough to be safe for a child who tends to mouth objects.
- Pieces are smooth and pleasant to touch for a child with tactile-sensory issues.
- There are only two geometric shapes in the 30-piece set making it a great beginner set for a child just learning shapes and colors.
- Pieces have a strong magnetic force making them physically satisfying when joined together (child feels the “click”).
- The strong magnetic force also makes the structures solid enough to hold together without disappointment (especially significant for the child with fine motor difficulties).
- Build bilateral coordination (using two hands at the same time)
- Strengthen shoulders (connecting two pieces together and pulling apart)
- Build eye-hand coordination
- Work on visual discrimination (discriminate shapes and colors and form)
- Strengthen fine motor skills
- Learn to follow directions
- Build math skills (basic and complex 2D and 3D geometric shapes)
- Build science skills
- Encourages free-play and helps foster imagination
- Allows for cooperative play (a child with special needs can join other children without having to use many or any words at all!)
About the Blogger
Gabriella Volpe is a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs, a certified teacher and the homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She knows first-hand what it means to struggle with educational planning for a child who does not fit the system and is limited by resources and products intended for children without disabilities. She helps parents find ways to adapt and modify the curriculum so they don’t have to spend hours figuring it out on their own. She also helps after-schooling families of children with special needs navigate their way around the homework hours. You can find her at www.GabriellaVolpe.com