Spielgaben. From the very first moment I saw it I wanted a set for our homeschool. But the months passed by and everytime I read a review post I poured over the beautiful photos and again wanted a set…but still I didn’t buy one…. I just couldn’t seem to part with the money. As a single income (and a stretched single income at that) I always agonise over big purchases.
A few weeks ago Spielgaben contacted me asking whether I would be interested in reviewing their product. Yes. Of course. I could finally answer that question for you all – Is it worth the money?
Ok get comfy folks, this is a long post…
So what do I think of Spielgaben?
Spielgaben is beautiful. There is no doubt about that. I knew that I loved it but how would Jack (4yrs 11mths) and Sarah (2yrs and 11mths) like it?
I introduced the materials slowly so as not to overwhelm them (there’s a lot of materials – hundreds in fact) and over a couple of weeks sat back and just watched them play; no real instruction or direction, just play.
And they played and played. They created and designed, they built and they sorted, they created stories and small imaginary worlds. Jack used some of the materials to build a representation of a machine he had designed ‘I’m an inventor,‘ he says to me. Sarah explored sizes and colours, she sorted and designed.
Ok. But is it worth the money?
Spielgaben is an incredible resource. It is beautifully made and thoughtfully designed. It’s potential as an educational tool is limited only by the child’s imagination.
I think though that you need to be honest and really decide whether you want the materials because they are so beautiful or whether you truly know that this is the kind of play your children enjoy (or are showing signs of enjoying) and will use the materials.
Jack loves to build and create. He draws and designs everyday. These types of materials really appeal to him. Sarah enjoys creating elaborate imaginary worlds with her stuffed toys; this is the type of play she enjoys the most. And while this may change over time, at this stage she doesn’t spend as long playing with Spielgaben as Jack.
So is Spielgaben worth the money? Well here’s a few things I jotted down:
- it encourages children to think mathematically by manipulating materials: patterning, sorting, counting, geometry, addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, fractions
- it encourages emergent readers and writers: working with letters and creating words
- has the potential to be used for a range of learning areas; science, social studies, history, geography, music… through creative hands-on expression – creating 2D and 3D representations of ideas and learning
- The wooden storage box with individual partitions to keep materials organised is lovely- perfect for organise-aholics like me
- I think these materials are going to have great longevity; I can see us using these materials in our homeschooling for many years to come
- The digital user-guides are very extensive. When you first open the Spielgaben boxes it is both exciting and overwhelming; where do I start? The user-guides are sequential and clearly explain what each material is designed for as well as give plenty of ideas for play. You can of course use these as a jumping off point for your own exploration.
- The cost. Let’s face it. With any significant purchase there is always a risk involved; will it be money well spent? This is where you really need to know how your child learns and what style of play interests them the most.
- The size. Spielgaben is an extensive set of materials; stored in a three-layered wooden box, making it quite large.
- The weight. I did a very accurate me standing on the scales holding the box test and it weighs nearly 7 kgs (15 lbs). When lifting the complete set (all three trays) the set is quite heavy. The trays have been made with individual rope handles meaning you can easily lift individual trays though (which is quite well thought out)
- The digital user guides. And well this is just a minor thing; the user guides are really great, very user-friendly with lots of inspiration for using the materials….I just would have liked them in print form. I guess I just like to flip through real paper pages
What you get:
(Version 3. Version 4 now available)
- 13 sequential sets made from sustainable materials
- Set #1: 12 pcs
- Set #2: 8pcs
- Set #2b: 102pcs
- Set#3: 8pcs
- Set #4: 8pcs
- Set #5: 39pcs
- Set #5b: 40pcs
- Set #5c: 12pcs
- Set #6: 36pcs
- Set #7: 448pcs
- Set #8: 73pcs
- Set #9: 216pcs
- Set #10: 480pcs
- 3 stackable wooden trays with chess board wooden lid
- trays are divided and marked to store each set individually
- Digital user guides
- 30 day warranty
- Shipping takes approximately 1 week (depending on remoteness of locality)
I tried my best to calculate accurately, if I made a mistake, I apologise. Suffice to say there is a lot of pieces
So what do you think?
For me, if all those months ago I had purchased a set I would have been more than happy when I opened the boxes for the first time, and even happier when I saw Jack and Sarah working with them. These materials suit Jack’s style of learning and playing. And I think that is the important part; that’s where the value for money comes in to it for me. I am confident we will be using them extensively in our homeschooling as well as loose materials for open play for many years to come.
If you would like to order a Spielgaben set, all you need to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, mention An Everyday Story in your email and Spielgaben will apply an 11% discount to your final order.