1 Draw Children In. Put down some fun and funky footprints children can follow to your intriguing manipulatives area. Hang twinkling tinsel and colorful confetti coils to catch their eyes and mark this hands-on play spot. Give each child a mysterious single puzzle piece to help complete a gigantic community jigsaw. Magic!
2 Renew Their Interest. Motivate children with a surprise box filled with a specific manipulative. If you've just visited a farm, add toy farm animals. Put sticker clues on the outside. Encourage children to shake the box and guess what's inside!
3 Build on Learning Styles. Add spotted dominoes to attract visual learners and squishy foam rubber puzzles for those with tactile preferences. Musical tops offer irresistible challenges for auditory learners.
4 Add Interest to Learning Areas. Individual place mats can personalize a workspace. Put pretty prisms and sparkly light catchers on a low windowsill.
5 Display Picture "Recipes." Hang step-by-step directions for building a toy log cabin. Encourage children to draw recipes for building a magic castle.
6 Double Up! Provide several of each of the most popular manipulatives, such as magnifiers or kaleidoscopes. It's hard for children to wait for such "magical" items!
7 Incorporate Everyday Materials. Use orange mesh onion sacks to hold pull-apart, plastic eggs. Egg carton cups can hold various sizes, colors, and shapes of colored beads to string. Coil the stringing laces and store them in berry baskets.
8 Stimulate the Senses. Use pantyhose "eggs" to make sound shakers. Unscrew the tops of empty spice bottles so children can sniff and guess what was inside.
9 Introduce Homemade Activities. Children can cut up copies of photos of themselves to make personal puzzles or set up a bowling alley with plastic bottle pins.
10 Document Your Enchantment. Take photos of things children made with small blocks, beads, or other manipulatives. Print children's dictated stories about their creations and display them for all to enjoy.