Playful Learning with Open Ended Toys – Spielgaben Review

Spielgaben educational toys

I am so excited to introduce to you the wonderful range of educational toys from Spielgaben. I am passionate about open ended, natural toys. No buttons. No batteries. Toys that spark curiosity. Toys that invite investigation, exploration and discovery. Toys that encourage creativity. Toys that have longevity because they are multi-functional and can be enjoyed by all ages. Toys that encourage learning in the most playful and natural way. Can a toy really do that? Spielgaben does all that and more.

Spielgaben play set

When the Spielgaben set arrived, I was amazed at just how much is included in the full set. As we opened each box, both R (5 yrs) and I were delighted by what was inside. The materials are so beautifully made, they just invite you to touch, build and explore. R was into them and creating pictures and structures before we had even opened all of the boxes. He couldn’t wait to get started with them.

This was the scene in our living room just after it had been delivered. Boxes lined up along the floor, wrapping discarded to the side and R just getting in there and playing.

Open ended toys with Spielgaben

Spielgaben educational toy

Making pictures with Speilgaben

There is a wonderfully comprehensive guide book that comes with the Spielgaben set. It is full of inspiration cards that can inspire all sorts of creativity and learning but I love that these loose parts are so intuitive that R started using them right away, without ever having seen them before. That’s the beauty of toys like this. There is no right or wrong way to use them. There are endless possibilities for how they can be played with.

Creative play with Spielgaben

The full Spielgaben set comprises thirteen different boxes of  manipulatives. They can be used individually or combined and they provide learning opportunities for pattern making, sorting, counting, colour, shape and size recognition, one to one correspondence, spatial concepts, problem solving, building structures and so much more. They foster creativity, imagination and language development. R even began narrating stories about his pictures, changing the design to fit the story. It was so wonderful to watch. We have also used these pieces on our literacy table to make words and letters.

Learning shapes and colours with Spielgaben

There is a huge array of tessellation blocks in the set and R loves creating geometric patterns with them. I can’t wait to try these out on the mirror for some Reggio inspired play.

Tesselation blocks with Spielgaben

Symmetry and pattern making

There is also a threading set which is perfect for developing fine motor skills, pattern making, sequencing, colour and shape recognition. The colours are so bright and inviting and they are beautifully tactile.
Threading beads Spielgaben play set

I am so impressed by the sheer quantity of materials that are included and the limitless possibilities that they offer. This box of threading materials became a long snake which R moved around the room. So what began as a fine motor activity soon became some wonderful imaginative play, gross motor fun, storytelling and language development.

Threading

There is an array of natural wooden building blocks that comes with the Spielgaben set. R was thrilled with these. He asked for the inspiration cards when it came to these blocks but he used them as a starting point only and then created his own designs. I adore the wooden trees that he made for the castle’s garden below.

Creative block play

The Spielgaben blocks inspired me to set up a designated block building area for R. I placed some of the larger lids from the play sets on the floor as a nice flat building base, lined up the boxes of loose parts along the side, and set out a cushion and a mirror to add a special dimension to the area.

Creative block play with Spielgaben

R loves this play space and the Spielgaben toys have really added a new dimension to his creativity. These pieces truly inspire new ways of building and creating.

Block play with a mirror

Block play with mirrors

I think R’s favourite part from the set would have to be this wonderful toy that teaches spatial awareness, physics and geometrical concepts. There are some dowels that fit together to form a stand. You then tie some geometric shapes to a string and spin them. There are several shapes provided and each one has several hooks. Changing which hook is used changes the direction of the spinning. As the shape spins, there is an optical illusion that transforms the shape. So the cube will look like an octagon for instance.

Spielgaben play sets for open ended learning

It was impossible to capture the spinning effect in a photo but R is enthralled by it.

Exploring shapes with Spielgaben

We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all the amazing possibilities that the Spielgaben set offers. I know that these will be used in our family for years to come for two reasons. Firstly, they are so beautifully crafted that they will stand up to years of play. Secondly, they are so engaging and offer so many different learning possibilities that they will still appeal to R as he grows. While he currently uses them for creative and imaginative play (although there is so much more learning going on that that), I can see these being very useful to teach hands-on maths concepts throughout his school years.

Loose parts for open ended play

You can read more about this amazing set of education toys, as well as what others have to say about it on the Spielgaben website. There is a second version of the set being released next month – just in time for Christmas! The contents of the new version are the same as the original version but it has a fantastic storage tray which will help with keeping everything organised and in its place. The complete set has 3 storage trays made of American Walnut that fit on top of each other. The Spielgaben toys are recommended for ages 3-12 and are ideal for families, grandparents, and classrooms.

Disclosure: I was given a set of Spielgaben educational toys to review. I did not receive any other compensation for this post. All words and opinions are my own.

Comments
  1. sapna

    It looks like so much fun…

  2. These are on my wish list. Love the younger items

  3. I love seeing all these reviews. We’ll definitely have to save up to get our own set. :)

  4. What a beautiful set of toys!

  5. Marci

    We pre-ordered our set, can’t wait to get them!! My son is 3. I’ll have to remember to set them up with a mirror like you did. Thanks for the inspiration!! Please continue to post more about Spielgaben as you use them in the future. Love seeing how your son uses the set!

  6. Oh they are just so very beautiful. Can you imagine what Jack would do with those materials?! He is such the little architect, oh the wonders he would create. Love them so very much.

  7. Wow! Nevermind the kids, *I* could sit there and play for hours!

  8. Maddie just loves the spinning ones too. Something about setting the stand up and then getting to switch over the different 3D shapes and then making them spin. She loves it! The other day our toddler got to our stash though and emptied 5 of the boxes of blocks and mixed them all together.. ! Normally, something like that would be somewhat frustrating to pack away but instead, Maddie and I got right into the challenge of trying to figure out where all the pieces belonged again! (ok, I did have to look up the boxes again to figure it out) haha. So much fun and endless possibilities!

  9. Wow, so many creative possibilities! I need to save up as my three children would absolutely love creating with this inspiring set.

  10. Wow I do love these wooden toys. So traditional!

  11. Colleen Woodcock

    That looks like such a neat toy but over 300.00 is insane can you get it anywhere for a more reasonable price.

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