Plastic spools are great for encouraging your child's early academic skills. If you sew, or you know someone who does, and you have the chance to get a collection of plastic spools, this is a great opportunity for you to help your child learn. Set aside an empty ice cream tub or coffee can or any other suitable container to store your collection.
1. PLASTIC SPOOLS - COUNTING
Practicing counting is more fun (which leads to more practice) if you build a tall tower. Stack up the spools carefully and count while you are stacking or when the tower is finished. Challenge yourself to make the next tower even higher. This activity encourages both counting to higher numbers, and one-to-one correspondence.
2. PLASTIC SPOOLS - SORTING
When you have quite a few spools, it can be fun to sort them out by size, shape, color, style, or lettering on the spool. Sorting is THE basic math skill that everything else builds on, so be sure to provide many opportunities for your child to sort things.
3. PLASTIC SPOOLS - READING
Younger children who are just learning to identify letters by name or sound will usually enjoy picking out the letters they recognize on a spool (most have a paper on the end, with words about the company or color or type of thread).
A classic favorite activity is to dip the end of a spool in a small bit of paint, and make prints. Youngest children will be quite content for a long time with just stamping and printing with spools in many different sizes, even though they all make a circle. Older children might want to cut out pieces of fun foam into different shapes and glue them on the end of the spool. Use stamp art for making stationary or wrapping paper or other projects.
5. PLASTIC SPOOLS - FINE MOTOR SKILLS Give your child a handful of spools and a shoelace or other piece of suitable string or cord, and encourage them to string a necklace, with the plastic spools for beads. Plastic spools are lighter than wooden ones and come in many different colors, so they are better than wooden spools for this particular activity. Stringing beads on a necklace is a fantastic way for your young child to develop the good finger coordination that they will need when they are learning to write nicely.
6. PLASTIC SPOOLS - SCIENCE
If you will give your child a nice flat piece of wood (or anything similar, maybe a cookie sheet turned over?), and a handful of plastic spools, they will be happily entertained for a long time with rolling the spools down the ramp. Be sure to also provide a yardstick or measuring tape, so they can measure how far the spools go (and practice reading numerals and using measuring tools).
7. PLASTIC SPOOLS - GEOGRAPHY
Read on the packaging of the spool to see where it was made, and then look up that country on your world map together. You might also use the internet, to learn more about different countries.
8. PLASTIC SPOOLS - ADVANCED PROJECTS
Make a "knitting Nancy" to create useful projects and keep someone busy! Knitting Nancy
10. PLASTIC SPOOLS AND HEALTHY EATING
Do not eat the plastic spools. They are not a health food. :)