How to Play With The Grimm’s Natural Rainbow (Tunnel)

Hi! I’m Hannah, part of Team Babipur’s work at home team. I have three boys who are 8, 6 and nearly 3. I discovered the wonderful world of open-ended wooden toys with my middle child, and my youngest has grown up with them. They have opened a whole new dimension of playing and learning that I wish I had discovered earlier.

One of the many things I love about open-ended, Montessori style wooden toys is that they have such a long span of interest that grows with the child. As they grow and develop and their interests change, so does the way they play with these toys. Grimm’s are the master builders when it comes to wooden Waldorf toys – their construction toys are smooth and tactile, but still grippy enough to build and balance.

Grimm’s 12 Piece Natural Rainbow

I’m going to be sharing with you some of the ways we play with the Grimm’s 12 piece natural rainbow (or tunnel) one of my favourite pieces, with its beautiful natural grain which combines brilliantly with other bright or pastel Grimm’s building toys. It does of course look great on the playroom shelf, but don’t forget to share some of these ideas with your child for inspiration, try setting up an invitation to play for them to explore. I’ve included a couple of ways to play which include Grimm’s semi-circles, they really do extend play and are great additions to your collection.

Little ones love to stack from an early age, especially if you are doing the stacking and they are doing the knocking over! The natural tunnel is perfect as the natural oiled finish leaves a texture for each piece to grip too. For the more advanced stackers there’s lots of amazing stacking challenges including making bicycles, reindeer and teddy bears, but we tend to keep it simple here with free flow play. Our youngest also loves making pictures on the floor – bumblebees are a favourite! Great for gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination and special awareness

These can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Adding blocks, semicircles, corner stones and building boards makes for some impressive structures, and getting a technical ball run working smoothly is a great challenge for older kids (and adults!). A simple spiral ball maze is just as pleasing for little ones as they follow the track round, tracing it with their fingers. Ball runs are great for problem solving, critical thinking and collaborative work with older children, and hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills for the little ones. Try exploring different size balls or marbles – do they make a different noise? Do they run faster or slower.

Everyone loves a birthday cake – and a Grimm’s birthday cake is the best! You’ll need semi-circles for this one – we’ve used the pastel simi-circles and I love how the colours pop against the natural wood. Children love getting creative with the decorating, we love ‘icing’ our cakes with Grapat mandala pieces, but you could use natural treasures, flowers, dried pasta shapes … let your imagination go wild! This is definitely a great activity for fine motor skills, but can also be used to look at patterns and sequences, enjoying some mindfulness and creativity.

This is another play idea that uses the Grimm’s semi-circles to create stepped platforms for Grimm’s friends, Nins or small wooden animals for small world play. Make castles, towers, and palaces with different rooms for peg people to live in. This makes a lovely invitation to play, to set up the night before and let your little ones imagination run free in the morning.

My children love anything with wheels so the natural tunnel is often used in vehicle play, making long dark tunnels and bridges. Each part can be used as a separate tunnel to add extra structure to road and rail small world play set-ups. The natural tunnel works so well in a naturalistic play scene – team it up with some trees, Ostheimer play scarves and your favourite wooden animals. Make a cave or den, it’s a great starting point to talk about homes – who lives in a den/cave? What makes it such a good home?

The natural tunnel is great for children who are showing an interest in the enclosing schema – building boundaries, fences and enclosures around their toys. Set up enclosures on the floor with the natural tunnel to create a farm or zoo, sorting animals in to groups or even use mandala pieces to grow different crops in your enclosed veggie patch. This activity is really inspiring my youngest at the moment who loves to put things in boxes and baskets, and is developing an interest in small world play.

Shop the Grimms Spiel & Holtz Design Natural Rainbow here >>

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