I made my kids a geoboard, and I am super excited and super proud of myself. I had no idea what the thing even was a year ago. And when I found out about it, it was all I could think about.
Here is a rough idea what it is, from Wikipedia:
“A geoboard is a mathematical manipulative used to explore basic concepts in plane geometry such as perimeter, area and the characteristics of triangles and other polygons. It consists of a physical board with a certain number of nails half driven in, around which are wrapped rubber bands.”
I finally found the time and enough motivation to throw everyone in the car, go to Lowes, and find a perforated hardboard (as it is known over there). Unfortunately these don’t come in small sizes and I ended up purchasing a 4′ x 4′ board, which they kindly cut for me right there. That cost me about $8. Then I bought a pack of 80 nuts and bolts that fit through the holes in the board, and actually ended up using all 80 for my 2′ x 2′ board. These cost me $9. I had to buy colored rubber bands in the office supplies section at Walmart for under a dollar.
The whole project cost me $18, and took about an hour to screw everything in. I still can’t feel my fingers 2 days later, but kids are so excited that it was totally worth it. I also ended up with three extra board pieces, but I am sure I can use them, somehow, in the future.
At the moment my 3.5 y/o just tries to make different shapes, separate them by color on the board, and even play some music with the stretched rubber bands. With time we will start introducing more complicated shapes, letters, etc. I will need to do more research myself to learn about other activities it is helpful with.
I highly recommend this, it is so fun that even I am tempted to play with it a bit here and there.