Last year, I asked my PTO to buy several new products from Mindware, around $150 worth of new things. The games I requested were a great investment, and will last many years. I am in the process of setting up art centers, at the end of last year I piloted it with one class and WOW! it changed my life. The additional games will help to keep the centers interesting and give a wide variety of options to students. Students were able to select an activity (after we completed one group project). These products are along side of traditional activities including play dough, crazy scissors, markers+coloring sheet, magazines+scissors, puzzles, bingo dobbers, beading and wire for necklaces, stencils, stamps, scrap paper with punches, and games like Connect 4 and Guess Who?.
Pic Wits! WOW! What a fun game! Students have a caption and then have to find a picture that best matches it. One person judges the photos and selects one, it is just like Apples to Apples, except with a picture! This would be fun to play with the whole class and a document camera.
Pattern Play is a colorful, math-building puzzle block set. One of my autistic students who is almost completely non-verbal has incredible success using the pattern cards to re-create the puzzles on the wooden board. REALLY GREAT for students with special needs.
Block Buddies is a small set of colorful blocks with puzzle cards for students to re-create various images using the blocks. Since I have another big set of blocks in my room, this one gets a little lost among the other activities. I really like the puzzle cards and I plan to challenge my students to use this one more often this year.
BlickBlock is a hit among the boys with its architecture-themed building cards. Students in my room have even put together their own 'marble' run with these blocks. Sometimes I forget how stimulating BLOCKS are to students...even older kids love to construct things with the block, not just kindergarten!
LED Rainbow Projector is a big hit whenever we paint watercolor rainbows. Be sure to buy batteries! I love this little lamp and the kids love it too! I don't let them play with it, but sometimes I pull it out as an 'extra' little something to WOW them at the beginning or the end of a lesson.