Torno, Torno Suggestions for Use

To understand children’s learning with open-ended materials, it is often useful to step back and observe their spontaneous play and problem solving. Children use blocks in a variety of ways:

  • To create designs – arrangements with no particular function.
  • To build functional structures – things that move, shelters, and enclosures.
  • To build representations of real objects – sailboats, animals, and people.
  • To rearrange patterns – recombing a given set of blocks into different arrangements.
  • To act out narratives – using the blocks to tell a story.
  • To encounter and solve problems.

Children will almost always start building on their own and may often build for long periods of time with great concentration. We have included some suggestions for use to further stimulate their ideas. However, we encourage parents and teachers to let children take the lead.

  • Language Development
    • Look at all the pieces. How do they feel? What colors do you see? What shapes do you see?
    • What other things do you know that turn?
    • Can you tell me a story about what you made?
  • Mathematical Thinking
    • Are there enough dowels to fit in each of the holes?
    • Are there enough squares to put on each of the dowels?
    • Are there any empty holes on the turning base with nothing in them? How many?
  • Physical Knowledge
    • How many different ways can you turn Torno, Torno?
    • Can you turn it without touching the base?
    • What is the fastest you can turn it? What is the slowest?
    • What do you think will happen if you put the ball on the turntable and spin the turntable very fast? Does it matter where you put the ball on the base?
  • Aesthetic Ideas
    • Do you like the way the color balls look when they are turning?
    • Would you like to change the way you have put them on the base?
    • Do you like to put the same colors together or to try different ones?
    • Let’s look at some books on modern sculpture and see if we can find some creations like the ones you made. How are they the same? What materials did the sculptor use? What other materials would you like to add to your creation?
  • Imaginative Play
    • This is my motor rolling machine.
    • I made lots of people with hats on top of their heads. This one has a yellow hat, a red hat, blue hat, a green hat.
    • When you turn it really fast it makes a whooshing sound like the waves.

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