By Milk Tooth customer, mum, and Early Childhood Teacher, Sarah @playdaysinperth
(A quick note from Kath at Milk Tooth: Sarah has used Papoose Lucite Cubes from Milk Tooth in these activities, but the Bauspiel Lucite Cubes are identical, just with a different colour range, so can also be used as part of any of these play ideas.)
Parents and Educators constantly search for ideas on how to set up play spaces and encourage learning. I hear you and I’m no different, even after 13 years working in Early Childhood! I hope some of these ideas are helpful. I adore Lucite Cubes and love to find resources such as these that can be used in a variety of ways.
One of our favourite ways to play with the Lucite Cubes is on our light table. This sensory experience is so inviting and encourages an open-ended style of play. My girls particularly enjoy using the cubes with the Papoose Dutch Wood Houses.
I’m a huge fan of sensory play! Step into my classroom and you will likely see tuff trays with messy play. We recently set up an activity using the cubes, shaving foam and 100s and 1000s (you could also use sprinkles). This activity was great for prompting oral language and colour recognition, whilst developing the children's fine motor control and hand-eye coordination.
Lucite Cubes are so pretty to look at and perfect for counting. Often people focus on numeral recognition but children need hands on experience to understand that each number represents a value, so 4 is actually four items. It’s a perfect opportunity to embed language such as more/less than and prompt questions such as “I have three purple cubes, how many purple cubes do you have?”
Kids' algebra skills start off with a solid understanding of patterns, which are a prerequisite of algebra. Setting up spaces that invite your child to copy, continue, and create patterns sets a great foundation. Combine the beautiful colours and a light table and it becomes a wonderful provocation to play.
The Lucite Cubes match perfectly with the Papoose Dutch Wood Houses. The windows of the houses are designed to be the perfect size to fit the cubes, and together they make great fairy castles and forts. Lucite cubes are also lots of fun to stack! Challenge your child to see how high they can build without their stack falling over. Ask them to count - how many cubes did they manage to balance? This type of open-ended play is great for budding engineers, designers, and STEM enthusiasts. As a mum it’s also refreshing to see moments of deep, independent play.
I don’t know about you but I feel I spend a lot of time as a mum sorting! Opportunities to invite your child to sort is a valued life skill. Sometimes we sort the cubes according to colour and other times we combine the activity and invite the children to post the cubes while sorting, with the help of our Connetix Tiles.
One of my other favourite ways to play with Lucite Cubes is just allowing the children the freedom to play with them in an unstructured set up. These cubes have been play food, gems, and special collections. This type of play is great for encouraging creativity and problem solving. It also provides a relaxed invitation to think outside the box and play and explore without the pressure of a specific outcome or structure.
Laying a mirror down flat and arranging the cubes on top is a beautiful way to explore reflection (the bouncing back of light), prompt wonder questions, and ignite curiosity. Taking the cubes outside and watching how they can interact with sunlight allows opportunities to engage in other scientific concepts, such as refraction (the bending of light as it passes from one transparent substance into another) and colour mixing. Try challenging your child to create orange without using any orange cubes, for example.
We used our translucent numbers and asked our children to tell us what the number is and hunt through the warm soapy water to find the correct amount of Lucite Cubes. We love that these cubes can withstand wet play.
We recently used our bath crayons on our tiled floor (this can be done with chalk on the ground outside). I drew some letters and invited my 4 year old to place the cubes on top as she identified the letters. She was learning to identify letters in a more relaxed environment.
Sarah has used the Papoose 40 Bright Lucite Cubes with Tray in her photographs. This size of Papoose Lucite Cubes is also available in a set of 16 Bright Cubes with Tray and a set of 16 Earth Cubes with Tray. Milk Tooth stocks a range of other Papoose Lucite toys, including the extra large Phatt Lucite Cubes, Small and Large Lucite Triangles, Lucite Rods, and the Lucite Hashtags set, which includes hashtags, rods, and cubes.
Lucite is an acrylic plastic resin that is strong and boasts crystal-like transparency, as well as resistance to UV rays and water. The standard size Papoose and Bauspiel Lucite Cubes are 2.5cm by 2.5cm by 2.5cm. This size is designed to work perfectly with the full Papoose wooden block and lucite range as well as the Bauspiel range of wooden blocks and lucite toys, including Colour Street, Bitcoins, Windows, X-Shapes, Grids, Hashtags, Window Shapes, Dutch Step Gables, and more.
Due to their smaller size, Lucite Cubes are only recommended for play by children three-years-old and above. We also recommend avoiding play with our lucite toys over hard surfaces, as they may crack, break, or chip when dropped.