Constructing new ideas

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Construction sets are always one of the most popular and well used resources in Nursery. One we have provided for many years is Mobilo. It contains multiple connectors and a variety of pieces of different sizes and shapes that give children enough scope to make choices and build many static and moveable models. This gives so many opportunities for learning across the early years curriculum.

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Mobilo is a useful resource for many aspects of mathematics. The individual components contain different shapes so meaningful learning can be applied in the context of the children’s hands on play. When using the set, you can talk together about the shapes they have used or need more of, which work well and why, and use combinations of shapes to represent and symbolise other things.

The angled triangular pieces are frequently used for making space rockets and airplanes, as the children use them for the streamlined nose and for the wings. The most adept rocket builders use the connecters to angle and adjust the take off, flying and landing position of the wings.

The concept and language of size also emerges and can be developed through this form of construction play. The elements lend themselves to size description and comparison when talking about their choices and intentions and their ongoing or finished creations. Models may be simply big or small, but scope for talking about whether they are long, short, high or low, even wide or narrow can be developed through conversation whilst playing together. A recurring theme for our children is connecting up the long, flat rectangular pieces to build ladders for fire engines.

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The flexibility of Mobilo really supports children’s creativity and imagination because they can make whatever they want to, and change it along the way. Our preschool children use the models they made to create toys to play with such as trains, cars and lorries. They quickly find out that the different connecters allow for a range of movements, some can create a bending motion, others let a piece rotate right around. Once this is discovered then helicopters and wind mills can be explored. Connecting pieces can also be used to make boundaries for toy animals.

Props for use in role play also become evident such as mobile phones, and items from their first hand experiences like thermometers, hammers and even necklaces. This really supports the children’s social interaction and language. The children’s fine motor skills are continually being challenged and developed due to the manipulative actions required to join the construction pieces together securely.

Some children like the challenge of using the activity cards and problem solving how to recreate the model shown in the picture by matching the exact shapes and colours and counting how many of each part they need. However it is the open ended nature of Mobilo that truly enables children to really extend their thinking, and engage in symbolic play where there are no limits to their ideas.