One of the best, most classic early education materials is the felt board. Found in preschool, kindergarten, and even first grade classrooms (that may be stretching it these days, but we can still hope), the flannel board allows children to work through all kinds of concepts in a playful, tactile way. I'm a huge fan. When Wilson crossed over to the "nearly two" age range, I couldn't wait to start using it with him. Enter Ash from Little Goat Learning: she's got experience in early childhood care and education as well as printing... so you can only imagine how beautiful her materials are.
Here's a little more information about felt boards, taken from Ash's website:
"A felt board is a board covered with flannel or felt, and is used by placing shapes, symbols, and story character cutouts on it. Your simple flannel board is very versatile. It enables your child/children to engage in imaginative play while also developing fine motor skills, and can be used not only by you to tell stories, but also gives your child/children an opportunity to practice telling stories, act out their own narratives through dramatic play and explore concepts."
For Wilson I chose 5 Little Ducks, which has become one of his favorite stories and songs. It's simple, repetitive and familiar. The learning kit came packaged beautifully; the carrying pouch even has the words printed on the front.
I made my own felt board by stapling a large piece of felt to a canvas (I found everything at Michael's), but Ash sells some really beautiful vintage frame ones as well.
I took out the pieces and right away he got to arranging them on the board.
I told the story, moving the ducks one by one to the upper corner of the board (spoiler alert: at the end, they all come back to their mama duck!).
Wilson spends plenty of time exploring his felt board on his own as well. He arranges the pieces, moves them across the board, and holds them ever so gently.
I'm thrilled to have stumbled upon Little Goat Learning. The quality and design of Ash's learning kits are top notch, and she hand makes each piece (which is, in my humble opinion, the most important aspect of a good felt board activity). Visit her website, follow her on Instagram, or take a look at her Etsy shop to learn more about her materials (or felt boards in general).