Santa brought my niece and nephew a set of Magformers. When I saw them I immediately thought they would make a good building center for my younger learners. Unfortunately, I think they might notice if their set went missing! I’m going to keep my eye out for good deals, because sets of these are definitely on my list! You can use Magformers at a table-based center, move it to the floor, or use on a large magnetic surface. If you have a magnetic door, desk, or one of those great oil pan wall spaces they would be perfect!
I’ve blogged about Cardboard Building Squares before and my students still love them! I love how easy they are to make and that they are great for all the grade levels. My students still come back to them every time they’re out as a center. I think I’ll be expanding the set by making adding some rectangles. I was inspired by this pin. In the meantime, I’ve started to add some variety and have been switching them out with Cardtivity for my older students. Jessica Lodge posted on Twitter about the great deal she scored when she found Cardtivity at a local discount store. I was looking to expand my building and engineering center with some additional options and got a set on Amazon. My students really enjoy them. One tip with a center like this is to reinforce math concepts by using the correct vocabulary to label structures the students build.
Lately, I’ve also seen Dado Squares posted by KS Fusco on Twitter. These function almost exactly like Cardboard Building Squares, but are made by professionals! They will last longer and probably be more attractive to students. I think these are a great long term option. If you see some for a good price, be sure and snap them up.
I’ve been collecting ideas of things to add to my construction and engineering center to alleviate boredom and keep the students building in new ways. What are some of your favorite building materials for students to use in centers?
Whatever you set out for students to use, perhaps you can use some building challenge cards? I made 20 Building Challenge Cards available at TPT.