Review: Spielgaben – Is it worth the money?

Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story

Spielgaben Review from An Everyday StorySpielgaben. 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…

Spielgaben Review from An Everyday StorySpielgaben Review from An Everyday StorySo 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.

Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story

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:

Pros:

  • 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.

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Cons

  • 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

Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story

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

Spielgaben Review from An Everyday StorySo 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 info@spielgaben.com, mention An Everyday Story in your email and Spielgaben will apply an 11% discount to your final order.

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Spielgaben Review from An Everyday Story

42 Replies to “Review: Spielgaben – Is it worth the money?”

  1. Thanks Kate for sharing your review. I really love to have one for my son too. I am still thinking, as you know it is kinda pricey. I love magnatiles too. I am thinking which one will be good for my 2.6 years old boy. We have blocks, he likes to play it but not so much pattern yet and he did not engage for long period yet. He loves to play freely, loves to find any sort of things from the house to play (from kitchen to anywhere). Both of magnatiles and Spielgaben looks so much fun and I bet he will loves it too. However, we are staying in Cambodia and our country does not have such educational materials yet. So coincidence, we will be meeting our relative who is staying in Australia in June. I am not sure which one should I get it. Any recommendation? 🙂

    Ashley

    1. Hi Ashley. I think your son would love both the Magna-tiles and Spielgaben. For his age though I think the Magna-tiles would suit him better developmentally. Jack is almost 5 and plays with our Spielgaben set almost everyday. I think he is at a good age for the materials – lots of interest in creating and pattern work as well as interested in learning numbers and letters.

      So I think if you are deciding between the two then I would choose the Magna-tiles for now and wait until your son is a little older for the Spielgaben set.

      Hope you have a wonderful holiday and the weather is beautiful for you 🙂

  2. These are lovely… I find it interesting that the manufacturers do not reference Froebel at all in their marketing, as these are clearly a take-off of Froebel’s “gifts and occupations.” Old ideas have circled back around in a new package…

  3. We love magnatiles, and would never get rid of them. But I think these are fabulous, never using them I would say you could get more creative with these. Although magnatiles you can built vertically pretty high. Can you do that with these?

    1. We love our Magna-tiles too. Jack and Sarah play with them everyday. I think while Spielgaben and Magna-tiles both have incredible capacity for creative expression, they are quite different materials. Spielgaben comes with a set of wooden blocks (with curves, semi-circles, cubes, rectangles etc.) which can be built along with coloured blocks but not to the extent that Magna-tiles can.

      The Spielgaben set allows for a different kind of creative expression – the coloured rods, circles and semi-circles mean the child can create all kinds of pictures – on a flat surface though.

      We’ve only had a few weeks to really explore the Spielgaben set so I’m looking forward to seeing what different things and ways to use it the kids come up with.

  4. I wish Spielgaben offered these materials in separate packages, as I have desire to duplicate materials we already have (cuisenaire rods, lacing beads, blocks, pattern tiles, etc.).

    As it is, I will look for individual Froebel’s gifts for only those materials we don’t have, saving my limited funds for other things like paint, paper, mirrors, and light table tools for our Reggio Emilia-inspired homeschool.

    After all, Spielgaben is not the only maker of Froebel’s gifts, which as Cindy points out are essentially what these materials are.

    1. That sounds like a good plan to me 🙂 These are the things I’m always considering too; best use of limited money. You’re right, Spielgaben are designed around Froebel’s gifts. If they were to make individual sets which ones would you be interested in?

  5. Oh my. I’ve never seen anything like this. How I would love a set for my children! My younger son was born with arthrogryposis, which affects his hands, and I can see so many opportunities for play-based therapy here. But he also loves to build, as does my 8yo daughter. It is cost prohibitive right now, but this is going at the top of my wish list.

    1. It is something to save for that’s for sure but like you said so much opportunity for therapy through play. A couple of years ago Jack was seeing an OT for a while and this is the kind of materials I would have loved for him.

  6. Kelley Cochran says:

    I was scared that my teaching team would not like Spielgaben as much as I do. From the first time I saw a literacy center on Pinterest using some of the materials I knew I wanted the materials for my early childhood classroom. I feel very fortunate that my school gave me the go ahead to purchase the set. it is really worth every penny.

    I have been amazed at how the children have taken to the materials. They LOVE them and can sit for extended periods of time creating. I teach a group of 24, 4-5 year old children with two other teachers. We break up into three groups of 8 and rotate through the different trays in a small group setting.

    I found the cons to be just two things.. The materials took a very long time to arrive from my initial order date. When they arrived I needed to let them air out in my garage because they had a strong paint smell. I too, do not care for the digital manuals and would like printed manuals to flip through.

    1. We’ve only had ours for a few weeks but are loving it. I would be really interested in hearing about the different kinds of activities you set up for your students. At the moment Jack and Sarah are really loving the sticks and dots.

      1. Kelley Cochran says:

        The sticks and dots are my groups favorite too. I love the photos you took of your son designing with the materials on the cover grid board. The discovery is endless. I almost wish the colors were not so bright.

        1. Yes the colours are very bright, aren’t they? I too would like some natural wood coloured sticks and dots as an alternative….different shades of brown would be lovely.

  7. Not having much of these sorts of materials I’m pretty keen! Hubby’s first question (after the affordability) was can things be replaced if lost?

    1. That’s a really great question Taryn. I’ll ask and get back to you.

      1. Jim from Spielgaben got back to me Taryn and he said that replacement pieces and sets are available. The discount is valid until March 25th if you are considering getting a set.

  8. Stunning pictures Kate! Thanks for your comprehensive, balanced review. I think when it comes to price I like to consider the amount people spend on Lego. They are generally happy to spend the money as they know the value and worth of those materials. It probably helps that people can spread out costs for things like lego etc over time, whereas this is certainly a much bigger purchase all in one go. Whilst the whole set is a complete dream and all works together so well, I do think having the ability to purchase sets individually might make this wonderful set more of a reality for more people. If I could only have one of the sets, I think I would have to have the circles as I’ve just not found anything like that.

  9. Oooooow I’m even more tempted now. Thank you for the great review. You might just have tipped me over the edge to getting one. 🙂

  10. I read your review with great interest Kate as I too have umm’d and ahh’d over purchasing a set. My own children are nearly 10, 8 and nearly 5 yrs and all love their imaginative play so I found your comments about how Jack and Sarah are using them differently. I can certain see them being useful in a classroom being a teacher as well… I’m still on the fence. I agree with some of the other comments though, being able to purchase them in separate sets might make them more accessible especially for teachers purchasing their own resources quite often.

  11. Oh I have been wanting (needing) a set for our home for ages now. If the sets were available individually, I would have a better chance of being able to ask friends and family to buy parts and we could build a set up gradually. I like the curved and straight lines (which you used to write Spielgaben above) best – I would buy that part first…

  12. We’re loving our set too and it’s so versatile! I love your review 🙂

  13. Wow, they look great. I’d love to have unlimited funds to purchase these kinds of toys for my kids. I think my 5 year old would LOVE them because she loves making patterns with small loose parts. It also seems like a bit of a risk spending that much money because (like quite a few of their other toys) they might play with them for a little bit and then lose interest. Good review though, it reminds me of the classic mathematical ‘rods’ my mum had when we were kids and we played and built structures with them often and for hours.

  14. Love your review though you are not making my purchasing decision any easier as you have totally confirmed how much my six year old would love a set 😉 As a parent on a very tight budget I am excited to see they may be releasing partial kits.

  15. I really want these. I wish I could win one though. Oh they are just soooo awesome!

  16. I really appreciate your review as I have heard SO much about these sets. Thanks for sharing all the details!

  17. I just adore this stuff and have it on my wish list. Thanks for the clear and honest review.

  18. How long does the special price offer last? I have wanted one of Therese sets for aaaages and am very tempted!

    1. Hi Naamah. I have contacted Spielgaben and asked how long the discounted price is valid. I am sure they will reply soon and I will get back to you as soon as I know.

      These materials are really beautiful. I can see why you are tempted 🙂

      1. The discount is valid until March 25 🙂

  19. lydia purple says:

    I love these. For those interested in separate sets, there is German company Sina Spielzeug making the Froebel gifts and one can purchase them separately, as a complete set (very expensive but enough material for a preschool group) and also different combinations like only the colored shapes for pattern making etc.

    Kate, there is a free kindle book ‘Froebel’s gifts’ which explains the original use of the material as it was intented by Froebel, maybe there is some inspiritation for you there.

    1. Thanks Lydia, I’ll take a look at the Kindle book. I had come across Froebel’s gifts previously – maybe a year or so ago – and was really fascinated by them so it will be good to read the book and get a little more inspiration like you said.

  20. I’ve never seen these before, but they’re beautiful! My kids would love them. As far as single sets go, I’d probably be most keen on the little shape pieces.

    1. They really are so beautiful, aren’t they? The small shapes are very popular with Jack in particular, he really enjoys creating different patterns and pictures with them.

  21. Hi,

    I bought a set but when I opened the set of toys, there was no materials (guide book,..) included. Could you please let me know how to get the materials? Or which contact I should send email to to ask about it? Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Ronova,

      How wonderful that you got a set. I hope your little ones are enjoying exploring all the wonderful materials. The userguides are digital. You can email Jim at Spielgaben asking for a link to download the files. Here’s the email address – info@spielgaben.com

  22. I’m so glad you asked this question. The boxes and contents look beautiful and well made by as a part-time WAHM it’s quite a big financial commitment. Our toddler is coming up 18 months so I think we will hold off for now and reconsider when she’s a bit older – but it’s very tempting!

  23. It’s nice to see the new themes and methods for classic wooden style toys. Interesting review. This toys must be attractive for kids, especially when parents participate the game and invent together.

    1. They are really beautiful materials Mary; with so much scope for growth. I know we will be using these materials in our homeschool for many years to come.

  24. We bought a set for our 4 and 6 yr old home educated boys. And whilst I love the design and concept we were totally disappointed with the poor quality. Further research in various forums revealed we’re not alone in relieving poor quality items (missing parts, peeling paint, badly finished off parts etc). My advice would be buy with caution. It’s not the high quality workmanship you’d expect for the price.

  25. Do you know how long the discount code is available? And I never did actually see the discount code. I would really like to order one. Thanks.

  26. Hi and many thanks for your blog! I’m writing from Paris, where spielgaben are almost unknown of, so your reviews are all the more valuable for me. My question is very simple: now that you and your family have had spielgaben for a bit longer, what do you think of it? Do you still consider it is well worth the money? Do your children keep finding an interest in it, inventing new games and exploration, etc.? Many thanks, and warmest wishes, Anne

    1. Hi Anne, yes, I was just talking with a friend about this the other day. We’ve had our Spielgaben set for a few years now and I can say honestly and without a doubt that we use it everyday. We use it a lot in our homeschool – mostly for maths – but the kids use it a lot just as loose parts too. If I had bought the set, I would definitely have felt like we got value for money.

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