Here at ~ Acorns ~ Nuggets of Gold~ I am always on the lookout for unique gift ideas that are also educational in nature. Often I turn to one of my favorite Homeschool vendors, Timberdoodle, to see what they have found that is new, fun and edifying for the brain cells. ;)
This year, in looking at their 4th grade Curriculum Kit (Because youngest is in 4th grade...), I discovered a STEM item that I'd not seen before:
Introducing Simbrix Expert Kit, from Nottingham, England:
What exactly ARE Simbrix? They are a two dimensional pixelated art supply, most similar to fusible beads, but they don't fall off a peg board mid-design (Hurrah! So much less frustration!). In fact, there is NO peg board. The beads are square, instead of round, and lock together to create whatever design your child thinks up or wants to illustrate from their learning. While the designs won't be permanent unless ironed, they can hold up to moderate display ~
Simbrix can be used to focus on following directions and patterns, similar to following a cross-stitch pattern, for example, and are excellent for fine motor tactile skills.
They are also simply pleasing to the eye and hand, and can be used a'la sand-table style, to create multicolor designs simply by swirling the beads into a specific shape.
The Expert Kit includes a brightly printed canvas with two plastic bags of beads in bright and pastel colorways~ with 4000 beads in total, and 17 colors, the possibilities are only limited by imagination, and unlike fusible beads, creations can be taken apart, and the beads can be used to build something new.
We had a Tardis and an 11th Dr. Minion
A Baseball field and American Flag (Sort of)
and some Flowers, for our first attempts
Younger children will be challenged simply by putting the pieces together. Older children (And perhaps adults) may be a little finicky, as the pieces definitely have a front (Smooth and shiny) and a back with little dots. In the close up of the Flag you can tell that the pieces were put together with disregard for front and back, but it doesn't really affect the final outcome for the one who put it together.
Just as adults and teens can be drawn into coloring with a younger child, Simbrix offers the opportunity for many levels of "play" for all ages, and may be a creative tool that would be enjoyed in your home throughout the seasons. You never know what might end up being the stand-out, unexpected gift of the year (And they were carrying this item LONG before it was found at any of our local toy stores), but Timberdoodle has offered products in the past that have been just that at our house. Maybe Simbrix will fill that spot at YOUR house this year! :)