Have you noticed more and more FREE teacher materials on Pinterest? Some of my favorite Pinterest freebies are teacher created board games I can play with my preschooler. Once I print a game I scramble around the house to find something to use for game pieces. I usually use small candies, foam squares, old board game pieces or any little trinkets I find lying around the house. Well now I have a new item to add to my game piece list...SQUINKIES!!!
My preschooler received her first set of Squinkies in October for her birthday. It was the first time I saw these mini squished up toys. My preschooler found them adorable. I could not agree with her less! All I saw when I looked at these toys were a terrifying choking hazard! I couldn't imagine why my preschooler would choose to play with them. They are less than an inch tall, the only accessory they came with were a couple of tiny plastic containers and she owns so many other toys that (in my opinion) are much better for imaginary play. But play with them she did. She enjoyed her first set of Squinkies so much that when Christmas rolled around, Disney Princess Squinkies made their way to the top of her Christmas list.
It wasn't until last week, when I figured out an education purpose for Squinkies, that I finally gave in and became a fan of these collectible toys. Squinkies make the perfect game pieces for all those teacher created games I've pinned and printed from Pinterest!! They are the perfect size for game boards, they stand up and they come in a wide variety...pets, babies, sports players and cars just to name a few.
Last week while I prepared for my faith formation class (I teach a 1st grade religion class once a week), I gathered up a collection of my preschooler's Squinkies. My preschooler graciously offered me use of any of her Squinkies, "expect her favorite princess ones!"
Before the lesson began, I told the class they would each get to choose a Squinkie at the end of the lesson to play a quick board game. I used good behavior as an incentive for choosing the Squinkies (those students who were attentive and participated would get to choose their Squinkie first). The class loved it! It was great motivation and added a little extra fun to the game!
I didn't have my camera with me in class, but when I got home I played the game with my preschooler and took a few pictures.
Now my head is spinning with ideas for all the different preschool games I could create using different Squinkie sets! And not only do Squinkies make the perfect game board pieces, they will also be a great math manipulative for my preschooler to use for counting, addition, subtraction, measurement, geometry and so much more!
I might just have to start collecting Squinkies right along with my preschooler!
What educational ways will you use Squinkies???