“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul.”
~ Friedrich Froebel, Founder of the first Kindergarten
If you haven’t already heard of Spielgaben, the new educational toy from Australia, then I’m very excited to be the one to introduce you to them.
Spielgaben is inspired by the first educational toy invented by Friedrich Froebel, who’s perhaps best known as the founder of Kindergarten. Spielgaben, meaning play-gifts, were invented by Froebel as a building, design, and manipulative toy to be used in his kindergartens. Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and Albert Einstein played with such blocks in their own childhoods — and that might be reason enough to buy a set for your child or school!
Inspired by Froebel’s play-gifts, this fresh new version of the spielgaben comes with thirteen boxes of materials that can be manipulated in a multitude of ways. This toy is genius, and one that will not collect dust on the shelf. The kit is something that I wish all children had access to — either at home or at school. As someone who used to purchase materials that had to withstand handling by thousands of museum visitors, this is just the sort of product I would not hesitate to recommend for a high-use learning environment. The quality is outstanding.
When Spielgaben asked me if I’d like to review their product I jumped at the chance. We stock our shelves with open-ended construction toys such as blocks, marble runs, and Legos, and I’ve been drooling over the Spielgaben set from afar since I first read this stunning review by Anna at The Imagination Tree.
Let me introduce you to our set…
I can’t even begin to describe the enthusiasm that met Spielgaben when it arrived at our home. We were all so excited to unwrap each of the beautifully packed gifts and my children worked together to cover this side table with a blanket and set up a “store.”
Game Night with Spielgaben
When we first opened the box my five-year old couldn’t find the instruction manual (not to worry — the kit does come with comprehensive play-guides, interactive worksheets, and inspiration cards that are full of ideas for facilitated learning and play), and quickly came to the conclusion that “we can use these however we want!”
Thank you Spielgaben for making this a truly open-ended experience for us!
With that, she invented a game! She covered a cube in painters tape and wrote color names on each side of the cube to correspond with the colors of colorful wooden rings. She then created a looping path of circles and found small pieces for our game tokens. The rules of the game were similar to Candyland, and we played for a full hour!
The next day my three-year old wanted to play again, and this time for almost two hours. I kid you not. The power of child-directed play was palpable.
Benefits of Spielgaben
Volumes could be written on the benefits of this toy, so let me briefly share just a few of my favorite benefits of Spielgaben:
Loose parts: The kit includes hundreds of loose parts that can be organized, sorted, and played with in countless ways. No two play sessions will be the same and the imagination will be active as straight sticks come to represent street lamps and a tower of cubes becomes a metaphor for a castle.
Child-directed Learning: Children will be inclined to invent their own games, stories, buildings, patterns, and ideas with these blocks. And the open-ended nature of the materials means that children can use them to direct their own unique interpretations of ideas.
Fun for adults: While many children’s toys can quickly lose an adult’s interest, Spielgaben is engaging for both children and adults. Just look at the diamond patterns I made with those triangles!
Learn while you play: While these blocks are playful, they’re also a true teaching tool. The set comes with an enormous volume of learning ideas, printables, and 8-12 years worth of learning activities and lessons. In the example above, you could create a clock shape and use the pieces to teach children to tell time. And in the picture below, a color wheel is set up to teach complementary colors.
Materials: The materials used to make the sets are environmentally sustainable and non-toxic.
Order Yours Today
To order, visit the Spielgaben website. If you place your order by November 23, 2013 Spielgaben promises that it will arrive in time for Christmas! Just saying. All orders include shipping. Spielgaben will ship to all of Europe, US, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Australia. (Outside, US, UK and AU, there are extra shipping charges).
Also, Spielgaben is offering Tinkerlab readers a promotional discount. All you need to do is fill out a contact form and mention that you heard about Spielgaben from Tinkerlab, and you will be provided with a discount coupon.
Resources: Spielgaben and Froebel’s Gifts
Froebel Education and Learning with Spielgaben
Using the Spielgaben in Play-based learning Environments
The Psychology of Froebel’s Play-gifts: A free ebook by D. J. Snider, 1900
The Kindergarten Building Gifts: With Hints on Program-making: a free ebook by By Elizabeth Harrison, Belle Woodson, 1908
Note: Spielgaben sent us a free set of materials to review, but all opinions are our own. No further compensation was received in exchange for this review.
What an amazing giveaway! This set looks amazing, loose parts offer so much play!
Thanks, Lola. We don’t get excited about everything that arrives in our mailbox, but this product is fantastic!
oh please oh please oh please i hope i win i hope i win eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
haha! Danielle, I just sent you an update for our new newsletter. Check your inbox early next week 🙂
Can your blog get any better 🙂
these look UNREAL! and that first photo in the room is AMAZING!!! here’s hoping on the giveaway! x
Oh my! I love this! Hoping I win. 🙂
I’ve already been a TinkerLab subscriber but filled out the form above because I thought it was for the Spielgaben blog. I hope that is OK!
Whoa. That looks amazing. New to your blog and this kit looks like something our children would love. Thanks for the chance. Love your blog!
Wow! These look amazing!
Wow! This set is an amazing product. I can already imagine the hours of free and unstructured play it can provide. Thanks for this giveaway!
I love the ideas for activities in your newsletter!
This looks like an awesome set. I would love to win it for the children in my room at daycare to use. They would really benefit from it
This looks like the best thing since sliced bread! What a great Christmas present for me, sorry, my son…;)
Forget the kids…I want to play with this set myself!!!! Will be perfect for my job as a family day care educator.
Looks so wonderful. Great for homeschooling. I can see all my kids ages 5 to 15 experimenting with this.
Speilgaben looks amazing! So many avenues of imaginative play to explore. I love the idea of child directed play as well as the added bonus of being environmentally sustainable. Awesome resource!
Wow! My little ones would love this! 🙂
I’m new to your blog but loving it already. This looks amazing and will be played with continuously in our house if we win! Fingers crossed one will be making it’s way over to the UK for my boys!
Oh, my goodness! I love this learning resource so much! I talk about it all the time to the parents if the kids in my care. Would LOVE to win this giveaway! So many benefits and applications for play-based learning.
I adore Spielgaben toys and am grateful for have a chance to win!
Oh, what a dream!!! I am salivating over the possibilities….
WANT, WANT, WANT!!! (And I might even share it with my kids!)
These sets look amazing! I am going to the site now to look for potential gifts for my children and a large number of nieces and nephews! Thanks to you and your kids for ttaling the time to.create such a thorough review!!
This product looks amazing. I can not even put into words how awesome this looks. I can already see me, my boys and several of my friends with their kids having a “play date” ! WOW would I be the most popular mom and play dater.
Hi.. This is a great give away.. I’m going to throw my hat into the ring for this one. I’m looking forward to looking through your blog in greater detail, Cheers
Spielgaben looks fantastic. So many opportunities for learning and imaginative play. Fingers crossed… (I look at all the unloved and unplayed with bits of noisy plastic in my daughter’s room and long for something like this!)
My girls would love playing with this set (and I would too!)
Love this set of blocks and toys . I don’t often go crayfish over toys but this one sure made me look 🙂 would love for my little one to have this set 🙂
Ohhhh I love this! I’ve had my eye on this for ages! I think I could get my son really engaged in this for hours! It would make a nice change from playing with toy cars (which is about all I can get him to play with these days lol).
These look incredible! I’m a teacher at a Reggio inspired preschool and the kids would love these. My fingers and toes are crossed!
I have observed children playing for hours with these wonderful engaging pieces.
This is a beautiful set! And yes, all kids should have an opportunity to have a set! 🙂 hope to win one..thank you for the give away!
Thank you for your hard work and inspiration so that we have this chance to win a great to tinkering toy. Spielgaben looks and sounds like the ultimate toy in what I try to look for when purchasing toys to challenge their imaginations!
This is the perfect free play educational toy for my little students! Thank you!!!
I would love to win this set for my grandchildren to play with. Thank you.
Love open ended play things! Seems like this one keeps going for years too with design and math possibilities!
Amazing set I believe my son and daughter would benefit from these
Looks like a great resource for Preschool teachers!!
Ooooo lovely, would love to share with my kids at work
Awesome! I have really been trying to get my two year old involved in some open ended educational play – not that hot wheels are all bad but you know, let’s broaden the horizons a bit! Thanks for the opportunity!
This is awesome! I would love to win!
This is just the thing for any child who has autism! My son is a tactile and visual learner. What a fun way for him to interact with others!
What a beautiful and engaging set! Exactly what we’ve been needing for our little engineer!
These look absolutely incredible! Thanks for sharing what is destined to become a favorite activity in my home.
What a wonderful open door to creativity and enough materials for many children to play at once. Thank you so much!
Not sure who would play with this more…me or my daughter…or my husband for that matter!
My boys would love the open ended play this set would provide!
What an awesome set! I would love to win it for my childcare.
This set looks incredible! My son would love it!!
What a great giveaway!
My son would love this. I have to admit I’d be a bit overwhelmed with all the small parts but they would keep him busy for hours!
This looks like an amazing set. I would donate it to the Kooskia Community Library where I know it would see a tremendous amount of use.
As a former K teacher, I see the wonderful opportunities to play that this set would offer a child. What an amazing set! I would love to win!
Hello and thank you for the chance to win this amazing educational tool. I work at a Child Care Center serving infants, toddlers, preschoolers and after school children. I cannot imagine all the ways children will use this beautiful set of all shapes and colors… it would be absolutely wonderful to witness!
What an amazing product! I feel like I could chuck almost my entire playroom full of plastic and replace it with like this 🙂
I would love to play with this as would all the children in the setting I co manage. Our setting is run as a charity to serve local children in a rural setting the possibilities for play with this set are endless 🙂
Having spotted this beautiful set on Imagination Tree website and reading the review I can imagine how stimulating and long lasting this product would be for my children.
This looks like such a fantastic toy!!
This set looks like hours and hours of unadulterated goodness for my kids! The possibilities seem endless! Thanks for the opportunity to win! And for your wonderful website:)
This looks like an amazing toy! My kids would love this!
Real nifty table setting you have there. The toys look as appetizing as candy in a candy store. Great giveaway!
You had me at the first pic! I’ve read and re-read your post and I don’t see anything about a giveaway. Are you giving a set away? I see lots of comments hoping for a chance to win.
This set looks amazing! I would love to have it for my daughters and my classroom!
As a mommy who doesn’t always know what to do (any given day) this would definitely help me inspire my little one to create, play, invent, make, build, think and learn in ways that I wouldn’t be able to cream up on my own. And for many, many years down the road even. If winning a Spielglaben set isn’t in my cards I may have to try and build something like this on my own using found things around the house. I am sure she would enjoy the real thing better, though! Thanks for the introduction to such a cool, awesome, thought-provoking learning tool.
Wow, amazing set of materials! I would love to win this for my 3 little girls and my child care charges.
Thank you for the comments, friends! If you signed up for our newsletter before the last one went out, you received a link to enter the contest. We’ll announce a winner early next week. xo, Rachelle
Hi, just signed up for the newsletter how does the givaway work?
Thank you for signing up for our newsletter! The giveaway already closed and a winner was chosen. However, we have more great giveaways in the pipeline, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the quality content that’s coming your way.
Such an amazing concept. Would love one of these when I was younger but am sure the boys would abdolutely be blown away and love using everything. Thanks for the inspiratio
Of course my nearly 4-year old daughter would love this, but really, I think my husband and I would enjoy it as much as she!!!
This looks like the best kind of family playtime–creativity that’s exciting to my daughter, husband and myself!!
First-time commenter – hi! I was totally blown away by this set and immediately clicked over. Unfortunately, though I’m sure it’s a great value, it’s well beyond our budget currently. I thought others might like to know that I contacted Spielbagen via email to ask them if they would consider selling the set in parts or on an installment payment plan. They replied with a very gracious email and said they liked my ideas and they would actively consider an installment option. Here’s hoping!
Thank you so much for updating us! Spielgaben has been incredibly gracious to us as well, and I imagine that they’ll continue to grow into a company that we can all feel good about supporting.
Thanks for this thoughtful review. I’m considering purchasing the Spielgaben set (gulp!) and I’m wondering if your family’s interest in it has continued over time. Almost any toy can capture kids’ interest for a few hours or even days. It seems like this would have potential to keep them engaged long-term. Does it?
I’ve been trying to find ways to save moolah for an entire Froebel collection for years. So lucky for you to receive a set! Other than how this is packaged, it is pretty much Froebel’s original concept, you even get a gridded work surface! Ack! So jealous! I wish I were rich! 😉
Can you please tell me if the sets they are offering on their site have all of those individual boxes… It appears on the site they are seperated into three big boxes… I like the individual boxes like yours shown here.
What is the discount offered for your site? I am really considering this, but it is a huge investment…
I’m ready to get one for my girl, but am unable to find such answers from the company’s wed site. If you already own a set, do you know where it is made in? Australia? Where is the wood come from? Thanks for your help!
Hi Pinky, I do own a set and it was shipped to us from Australia, although I’m not sure if it’s made there or elsewhere. I’m happy to email the owner and see if I can dig up an answer for you. ~Rachelle
Thanks for checking it for me, Rachelle. I’m just quite wary of products made in big “C”….
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