Homeschooling with WunderNook

We're about to wrap up Homeschool Awareness Month and I just wanted to take this moment to say how much respect I have for the families out there who have made the commitment.  Despite teaching from home during the lockdowns of 2020, I can't claim to understand or have experienced real homeschooling.  I will say, however, that I loved that time with my kids and it helped me to see WunderNook (when it was in its prototype phase) in a new light – as a super homeschooling tool. 

And by the way, WunderNook meets the needs of all different kinds of families, so whether you're homeschooling, you supplement your school's teaching at home, or you simply love having a range of pretend play Creations at your fingertips -- without all the clutter or gaudy primary colors, we're here for you. 

So how is WunderNook a great homeschooling tool? This is what we experienced when teaching from home and what we're hearing from other WunderNook families:

  • Fun for a wide range of ages (3-10).  A three-year-old will love choosing what he or she will play with, attaching accessories and counting connectors. A nine or ten-year-old will build solo (or with friends/siblings) and even come up with potential new designs. Plus older kids love the leadership opportunities when playing with younger siblings or friends!
  • Great for a wide range of interests, skills and development levels. WunderNook meets kids where they are. As a child enhances gross motor, fine motor and analysis skills by playing with WunderNook, the child will grow in his or her ability to use the system to its full potential.
  • Physically grows with the child.   When I was developing a prototype I asked a number of preschool teachers why kids seem to outgrow playing with a kitchen.  Many believed it was because kids physically grew too tall and the kitchens suddenly felt "babyish".  That's why we built size flexibility into the kitchen and have two sizes of the lemonade stand Creation.  We're doing our best to make sure kids can step into the world of pretend play for as long as they're interested, without being limited by the structures they use.
  • Supports social emotional learning – Building with WunderNook – and then playing with it –  provides ample opportunity for key life skill development like communication, cooperation, negotiation (what to build and how to build it), patience (taking turns), and problem solving, to name a few.
  • Nurtures STEM learning.  Playing with WunderNook provides so many STEM learning opportunities, from counting, to process planning, spatial awareness, creativity and basic geometry.  We love that it's screen-free and hands-on STEM learning.
  • Complements topics being taught.  Are you teaching your child about seasons? How about setting up the farmer's stand to talk about what is in season and when? Or maybe you're studying Colonial Williamsburg? Your child can use the lemonade stand or farmer's stand and pretend to be a Williamsburg silversmith, telling you everything he or she has recently learned ("narration" in the Charlotte Mason approach).

If you're still reading, here's one of my experiences using WunderNook to turn a screen-heavy school assignment into a great hands-on STEM learning experience in 2020:

Our kindergartner was assigned a project for his technology class that required him to film, edit and post an advertisement about something he was passionate about. Since screen time wasn’t part of our family’s culture, we decided to supplement the assignment with some screen-free WunderNook play and learning.  After coming up with a theme (canoeing), our son drew a storyboard, wrote down some key words for his “script,” and started to think about his “movie set.”

I had been playing with different Creations earlier in the day and had left the Fridge Creation on its side.  Our son immediately observed an opportunity.  He pulled out two triangles and attached them to create a “bow” and “stern”.  We removed the inner shelf, leftover from the Fridge, and then experimented with connector placement to create a sturdy canoe. 

Before we had even started filming, our son had exercised his creativity and problem-solving muscles, worked on his fine motor skills while attaching the connectors, and learned some key lessons about load, gravity and geometry while experimenting with the optimal connector locations. 

This example highlights how we were able to take a screen-heavy assignment and turn it into a really fun hands-on, screen-free STEM activity!