When I first started teaching I worked as a substitute teacher and so I always had a 'bag of tricks' at hand that I could bring with me when I got a last minute call to cover a teacher away or off sick. One of the things that I had in my bag of tricks which my daughter now uses, was this Galt box of Cotton Reels, which currently retails at £4.99 on amazon, and to be honest, I cannot remember what I paid for them at the time.
This box contains 20 various coloured cotton reels that come with a thick white cord for threading the reels on. Although on the box it states that this product is suitable from age 3 to 5, I really think that is quite a high age suggestion and it is certainly suitable for child younger than this. My daughter is almost 15 months old and she really enjoys playing with these reels. No, she cannot thread them onto the cord yet, but she loves trying to stack them and then knock them down, putting them in and out of the box and banging them together and it is enough to keep her entertained for 10 minutes if we are in a cafe or somewhere. I put a handful of these in a sandwich bag in my handbag and pull them out as a little toy and it works a treat.
As I said at the beginning, I actually bought these reels at the time when I was a substitute teacher as I thought they would be useful for number work, colour sorting or to keep a group busy whilst I listened to reading etc. especially if you are in a room where you are unsure where a teacher keeps their resources. I found when I was in classes with younger children this was a good toy to bring out for various activities albeit it could only be used with a small group of children, but I think there are some really positive benefits of such a toy, including improving hand eye coordination, plus encouraging imaginative play.
All in all, these are a great basic toy which has sooo much potential. It has potential for number work, colour sorting, threading, stacking and rolling and can be a great help for improving hand eye coordination. I am so glad I purchased these at the time, and my daughter will get much more use out of them as she grows.
My daughter was bought this set for her second birthday from a friend of ours that doesn;t believe in age guides although I agree with this toy that it is completely suitable for my 2 year old.
Like I say this was a present so I don't know how much it costs although I have seen this toy on sale on the Amazon site whilst I have been going through looking for things for Christmas for her and it's current selling price is £4.99 with free delivery.
The cotton reels come packaged in an orange cardboard box which is plenty strong enough for keeping the reels in, it also has a carry handle on the top of the box which Emily loves as she loves carrying things round with her for some odd reason. It states on the box that these are suitable for ages 3-5 although I never understand why they put an upper age on as surely it is up to the child when they have finished playing with them. The box is very brightly coloured as it has pictures of the cotton reels on it in red, yellow, green and blue.
In the box you get 20 cotton reels of four different colours and then you get a piece of thick tring to thread them onto, the string is about a metre in length so you can thread all of the cotton reels onto it at one time as they are about 4cm in length each.
The reels are made of plastic and they have no weight to them at all, the string is really thick so doesn;t snap and the ends are bound so that it doesn't fray. The cotton reels have a hole through the middle as well as having to holes around the outer fo the circle too.
Emily loves playing with these reels and does more than just threading with them, she is always supervised when playing with them due to the worry of strangulation with the string but I don;t honestly think this risk passes by the time a child turns 3. We thread the reels onto the string and Emily struggles a little but if we hold the end of the string for her she can manage to put them on, she also likes to build towers with the reels and we build pyramids too which she likes to knock down. Emily doesn't name her colours yet so we have been using the reels for this and if we give her a reel ad tell her to put it with one the same she can do it so she does recognise the difference.
This is a really good set for a couple of quid and has a few different ways it can be played with so your child can get a lot of play out of it as well as a lot of learning opportunity.
I'd never thought of buying my daughter any kind of threading toys when she was younger, it was only until earlier this year when she started going to nursery and took a keen interest in these types of toys that I thought it would be a great idea. The first threading toy I purchased was this cotton reel set from Galt.
I purchased the cotton reel set from Amazon for around the £4 mark. I haven't seen it on sale anywhere else so I'm not sure if Amazon is the only place you can purchase it.
The set includes 20 cotton reels and a piece of string to thread them on to. The cotton reels come in four different colours, red, yellow, green and blue and there are five reels of each colour. They are around 4 centimetres long and a few centimetres in diameter, although they are quite big and solid looking they aren't very heavy at all. To me when I am holding these reels they just feel like I'm holding air, obviously for children they will feel a little heavier but they aren't heavy in the slightest. The piece of string has a nice thickness to it so there is no need to worry about it snapping or anything through vigorous play or putting too many reels on it. The string is between 100-110 centimetres long
The cotton reels have a hole down the middle and several holes around the edge too so there is a variety of different places children can put the string through. I got this for my daughter when she was around two and a half years old and she had no trouble in threading the reels onto the string, at first it was a little fiddly for her but now there is no stopping her. I'm also using the reels to teach her colours as she struggles quite a bit with these but the bright colours of the reels are engaging and hold her attention for a little while.
I think perhaps these cotton reels would have been a good toy to play with from an earlier age too, despite the recommended age being three years as it can help with fine motor skills. I can see how the toy can be a danger if children were left unsupervised with it as the string could easily get stuck around the neck or something along those lines but if children are fully supervised I see no problems in younger children playing with this too.
For only a few pounds my daughter has had great enjoyment from these cotton reels from Galt and for that reason I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. Not only are they fun but they are educational and multifunctional too.
I have got these cotton reels for my two young boys - 2 and 3 years old, who have both enjoyed playing with them.
Threading the reels onto the shoelace helps with fine motor skills and hand eye coordination so I felt like its a beneficial toy for their development, but as far as they are concerned it's just fun. They will sit and concentrate for quite a while with it, so I think it helps to develop concentration span and focusing skills too.
As well as threading the reels, they also used them to build towers and then knock them down. You can use these reels to work on colour recognition, and making simple patterns such as threading red, blue, red, blue or whatever else, which can is also good for learning as they will later look at number patterns for maths.
The quality of the reels is good, they are quite a thick strong plastic and not too brittle. The string is also quite thick, like a shoe lace but one of the ends came off from ours and we have had to fix it with cellotape. I might be able to just replace it with a new shoe lace though, to do the same job but was slightly disappointed with that, however it had been used quite a lot before it happened so may be just wear and tear and I would still recommend this product despite that. I bought it very cheaply from amazon, for about 3 pounds so can not really complain.
I would happily buy other products from this brand.
I brought these for my eldest son 2 years back although the age recommendation was 3 years plus I knew we could make use of them before then as my niece has the same ones. They retail at £4.99 but Amazon always have them on special offer and I think we paid £2 for ours which is great value.
In the box you receive a selection of 20 solid plastic cotton reels 5 of each colour available and also a strong thick thread for use with them which is a good size for little ones hands and as it is thick it does not wear down even after years of use.As the cotton reels are made from plastic they are durable which is essential for toys designed for toddlers and these are also rather chunky so little one can hold and play with them easily and very light.
What I love most about these is there are so many ways to play with them so as child grows they can be used over again and yet do not become boring. They can grow with the child and as they reach different development stages the toy can be changed in the way that we play to suit that.
Stacking - As they are round yet have a flat top and bottom they can be used just like building blocks and little ones get to practise their balancing skills which helps give them a steady hand while they are having fun.
Rolling- Simple fun for little one they just need to put the reels on their side and watch them roll although I did not realise how interesting this could be my children think it is amazing.
Colours and counting- Although they only come in yellow, blue green and red this is a great starting tool for teaching little ones their colours. As they are playing you can introduce the colours to them and this helps them learn them in a fun way. As the child is playing with the reels simple counting can be used to introduce numbers. Also my 4 year old boy uses these for low level sums. Although there are only 20 so it does limit the sums available we have used these to introduce him to adding and taking away simply by settle puzzles out with the reels. It has been a big hit and has helped him actually concentrate and want to learn.
Threading _with the thread that comes in the set it helps children with their fine motor skills as they need to concentrate and think carefully about getting the thread through the holes in the cotton reels my children love to do this over and over again.
Last but not least my children love to bang them together and make some noise and just examine these reels. We would carry these around with us in our changing bag in a sandwich bag and half the time they would not need to take them out the bag but simply use it as a rattle instead and examine ways they could move the reels around in the bag. As they are so small they are easy to carry around and they will not break from the rough and tumble of shaking around on the pushchair.
My only downside is the thread is rather long and although this is good in one way as it can fit most of the reels on to it even for my 4 year old it scares me him playing with something that can act as a rope. This is simple to solve and we play together with them and I think I may just be a paranoid mummy.
We love these and so far they have lasted for 3 of my children with no signs of wear and they have provided hours of fun. There are so many ways to play and it helps little ones imagination soars. The age recommendation is correct for independent play but my 18 month old son also finds ways to play with these and under adult supervision I see no reason to spoil his fun.
I love buying my boys fun but educational things and one thing I remember from my childhood is threading cotton reels I had lots of fun doing this and thought my boys would do too. It wasn't hard to find some aimed at young children. Galt, a good old trusted educational toy maker make a set of cotton reels for children aimed three to five years. I purchased this set last year for my eldest son who was three at the time.
The set comes in a strong cardboard box that can be used again. You get twenty cotton reels and one thick threading cord. The cotton reels are about 3cms in height and are made from strong durable plastic. They are perfect size for a little one to hold onto. The twenty reels come in four different bright colours there is the three primary colours red, yellow and blue and the last colour is green. These are the main colours your little one generally learns first. As I have mentioned the set only comes with one thick threading cord which is about 120cms in length.
*****Using the cotton reels with my four year old*****
Galt state that using the cotton reels encourages hand eye coordination and manual dexterity. The main idea is to thread the reels onto the cord. My eldest who is now nearly four found this a little bit simple. What he does like to do with them is make patterns up when threading them onto the cord. We began with a simple two colour pattern and over time we have increased it. He now attempts a pattern with all four colours and does well only getting a little mixed up sometimes. He likes to make patterns with the cotton reels independently.
As well as threading the reels we do use them lose on the flour for counting and putting in groups. Another great thing to use them for and I remember doing this at school is to use them to print with paint. They are made from plastic so are very easy to clean. My son loves making patterns with them and again we are getting more use out of them.
*****Using the cotton reels with my two year old*****
I didn't buy the cotton reels with my youngest son in mind but we have begun to use them together. My son is a little behind in his development and has been assessed by the local portage service. He will begin his weekly home visits from a member of their team next week. It was during their visit they assessed whether he could thread some cord through some large wooden blocks. He really struggled with the concept of pushing the thread in and pulling it through but after some time managed to get the hang of it a little. It was after then I decided to spend some time playing with these with my son and I have to say he is really getting there with them. So I would recommend you don't listen to the age range too closely.
One thing my youngest loves doing independently with this reels is stacking them. Both boys enjoying stacking them up and watching them fall, although my eldest does tire of it quite quickly.
The great thing about these cotton reels is they are versatile.
Galt recommend this product for children aged between three year and five years old but I would disagree. I think for most five year olds they will have tired of the very simple structure of it. At the other end of the scale I feel children younger than three should be enjoying them. I do understand safety with it being a piece of cord but under supervision these will really help with your child's development. I feel they would be perfect for a child eighteen months and above. My youngest who is two is certainly going to get a lot out of them.
These cotton reels are wonderfully simple and bring some great memories back for me. Both my boys are getting use out of them although I would say my younger son is getting more use from them now. What is there not to like about them, apart from there needs to be more. They are fantastic value for money. I managed to get them for £2.99 on Amazon sale last year they are currently priced at £4.99 (Jan 2012) I would say that is still great value for money.
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20 plastic cotton reels with a long threading cord ideal for young children to delevop there hand eye cooridination.