Froebel's Gifts

"They were to be Gifts  handed to children, not to signify a present given, but a tool which would help children to indicate their gifts so that the adult would know which areas of a child's interest and understanding to encourage most. For, after all, children learn best by concentrating on that which they know, rather than on that which was still confusing and nebulous. The detailed study of the Gifts not only provides us with information regarding the composition and uses of them, but also introduces us to Froebel's educational principles, applicable to pupils at any age."

Quoted from: A Child's Work by: Joachim Liebschner, page 71.

Gift One: from 3 months to 13 years; or infants, toddlers, children in Kindergarten, Connecting School and Academy.

Froebel’s Gift One consists of six knitted, crocheted, felted, or rubber balls in the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue and the three secondary colors of orange, green, and purple. Some of Froebel’s notes include a seventh color of indigo and the colors of black, white and grey for older children.

Today, as in the past, the set of Gift One balls include six rainbow colors without strings and six with strings attached in a wooden box with a sliding lid. This Gift serves as the introduction to Froebel’s educational toys.

The Gift One balls can be used with children of different ages. It is best for a parent to begin by playing with their young infant and to continue onto the rambunctious toddler stage and into the inquisitive pre-school age. At the age of four a child is ready for Froebel's Kindergarten work with Gift One and  some of Froebel’s Occupations appropriate for this age group . Exploring the child’s environment through music, movement, games, nature walks & field trips are beneficial for the active age.

A parent and/or teacher can use the Gift Ones balls with children in the Connecting School age group of 8 to 10 years old. The Gift will be used to discover their environment on a deeper level. Writing, reading, research and handwork are part of the explorations. From there work with older, academic children ages 11 and up is shared. Gift One is studied historical & geographically. More elaborate handwork and research are conducted.

Gift Two: from ages 2 years to 13 years old; or toddlers, children in Kindergarten, Connecting School and Academy.

Froebel's Gift Two consists of a wooden sphere, cylinder and cube with eyelets and/or holes in them. A solid cube is included for lessons in comparison with this and future Gifts. Gift Two comes in a wooden box with a frame work to assemble for the rotation of the Gifts.

Due to the small parts and intricate abilities of this Gift, a toddler set can be assembled consisting of a solid wooden sphere, cylinder and cube in a small wooden box. The apparatus & spinning attachments can wait till the kindergarten phase of 4 to 7 years old. This makes Gift Two a movement toy for toddlers.

This hands-on course will show the parent/teacher how to use the solid shapes of Gift Two with children from toddler-hood to pre-teens. This Gift, just like the previous Gifts and the ones to come, can be used over several years in order to be introduced and learn different concepts in math, science, art, history and geography.

This course will focus on each age group. Of all of Froebel's Gifts this one has the strongest educational value as it represents the fundamental forms of the universe. The sphere symbolizes the heavenly bodies, the earth, the sun and the moon. The cube symbolizes the mineral kingdom and the connection between the two is the cylinder. The cylinder symbolizes animal and vegetable life.

Gift Two was often called The Children's Delight, because no matter the age, children were delighted and curious about all this Gift had and still has to offer.

Gift's One and Two represent the solid Gifts as they can not be divided. Froebel intended the child to begin the whole before moving onto the parts.