In the past, I’ve let my kids build with blocks, Magnetix, Tinker Toys, Superstructs or even Legos while they listen to me read. In many ways it allowed them a heightened sense of attention and focus. There’s much evidence to support this practice, especially for kinesthetic learners. It was successful for my kids as long as their mental energy was focused more on what they were hearing instead of the creativity of what they were trying to build.
Recently though, our family has fallen in love with Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty, and it has become our “go-to” thing to have when listening to literature or history read-alouds. I tell everyone that this is a wonderful example of packaging and marketing. Essentially, it really is just old fashioned “silly putty.” But this new Thinking Putty comes in small stainless steel containers which sit nicely on a table, in a drawer or can easily slip into a pocket or purse. Our kids keep them in a personal drawer, and ideally that’s where they always are. 😉 They know where to find them when it’s time to sit and listen to a story.
But these are more amazing that just regular silly putty. They have all kinds of fun colors – some hyperthermal colors that change with temperature, some metallic looking sparkly bold colors, and even several glow-in-the-dark colors.
Not Just For Kids
Last night, even as adults, we sat around the table talking with my sister and her husband and each enjoyed messing around with our own bit of Thinking Putty. Somehow it provided a minimal distraction that ironically allowed us to dive into deeper conversation. It was fun for us to create shapes and unique designs ourselves.
In addition, these are perfect small gifts to surprise an older child with, something they wouldn’t expect to enjoy but totally do!