HABA’s Threading Police Game a Teachable Moment Waiting to Happen

The other day, Kid Tester #2 and I told you how much we liked HABA Toy’s Secret Code 13 + 4 math game. KT #1 and I had a chance to check out HABA’s Threading Game Police, a game for younger kids that does a great job working on fine motor, sequencing and listening skills. It, too, was a hit!

One of the best things about this game is the versatility of it.

ThePiecesIt comes with sets of chunky, colorfully animated block characters–great for little hands to grasp– including a house and a police officer that each have a short thread with a wooden aglet on the end.

The rest of the characters have holes drilled through them so they can all be threaded together. The game also comes with a set of sturdy, illustrated puzzle/story cards, a drawstring carrying bag, and an instruction booklet that provides a number of suggestions and stories to use with your child.

Here’s How the Threading Police Game Can Work

So, back to versatility. Among other things, your child can:

  • Put together the puzzle cards and try to recreate the story each one tells by threading the characters in the same order. KT #1 liked doing this and then making up a story about what was going on. It was so interesting to hear his interpretations!
  • Listen to a story that you tell or read and put the pieces in that order.
  • Place the pieces in the carrying bag and try to find one by feel only. You can describe the piece or tell your child which one to feel for.
  • Thread the pieces together for fine motor practice.
  • Play with the blocks and/or make up his own stories.

Aha! Teachable Moments…

I always love it when a toy or game brings up questions that can be used as teachable moments, especially because often the questions that come up are about things I don’t know the Kid Testers don’t know!

After looking at the puzzle cards and blocks and hearing some stories KT #1 (who is a young preschooler) wanted to know what handcuffs are used for, why a person would take money that wasn’t his and why the police police would “need to handcuff that guy and put him in jail.”

I mention all of this because it shows you how beneficial it can be to just let kids explore and that this game, specifically, can be used as a way to talk about rules, community helpers and honesty.

Mr. Learning Treehouse’s Take

I always like to get Mr. Learning Treehouse’s opinion on these games, too, because I wonder what a parent who isn’t trained in child development thinks. Of course, he’s spent years listening to me pontificate about developmental skills and the like, but he usually notices things I overlook because I’m busy focusing on the educational aspects. Mr. LT was a fan of this game, too. Here’s why:

  • The puzzle cards are really heavy duty cardboard and laminated to make them stronger and water-resistant.
  • The cards are reversible for a total of 8 different stories, easy to put together and to figure out, even for little kids.
  • The pieces are easy to thread on the strings, and the wooden part of the end makes it easy to thread through the holes on the pieces.
  • The pictures are big and easy to identify, so kids can verify that the pieces are going on in the right order.
  • The pictures and order are not structured so that they only tell one story, KT #1 made up his own story: “The police doggy lives at the police station, then he barked at the policeman because a bad guy was taking money, then the policeman had to put the handcuffs on him and give him a ticket.”
  • It’s very easy to clean up and put away; the wooden parts all fit into the cloth sack with a drawstring to keep it closed, the cards stack right up neatly,there not so many pieces as to be overwhelming and KT #1 was able to help clean up.

The bottom line? HABA Toys just keeps making sturdy, interesting, educational products and this one is a teachable moment waiting to happen!

About Amanda

Amanda Morin is author of The Everything Kids' Learning Activities Book, a former teacher/early intervention specialist and mother of three. She is the writer and editor for About.com’s Kids’ Learning Activities site, a regular contributor to PopSugar Moms and her parenting articles have been featured on Education.com and ModernMom.com, among other sites. Amanda knows that hands-on, fun activities are the best way to promote learning and wants to provide parents with the information they need to find products that promote fun learning.

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