Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Retro Learning

Ok, I'm showing my age here, but does anyone else remember these totally rad bell charms from the 80's?
I had a bunch when I was a kid and I recently found more on Ebay. :) They bring back such fun memories - I remember my friends and I use to bring them to birthday parties and trade them. Collecting as many as possible and filling up an entire plastic chain was the goal. They were a must-have accessory for 80's preteens!

Fast forward 20 some years and they are still a must-have for me. True I don't/won't wear them as an accessory, but these little lovelies just make me smile. Of course I'll pass them on to Juliet when she's old enough and hopefully she'll pass them along to her children thus keeping the 80's forever alive. :) But what do I do with them in the meantime?

Turn them into learning tools, of course! I came up with a list of 13 different ways to use these charms for learning. Here are just a few:

~I Spy~
You know the game, "I spy with my little eye...". I've written a list of all of the charm in the above photo on a separate card. James will go down the list and check them off as he finds them.

~Sorting By Type~
I threw this together in order to get a photo, but when James does it he'll have 6 little baskets to sort in to. There's the possibility of a bit of crossover with a few of the charms, but ultimately each charm really only belongs to one category.

I couldn't think of a better title for this activity. :) Basically it's just clipping each charm onto a notch on the chain necklace. I'm not sure if it's because these little charms are nearly 30 years old, but they require a steady hand and some focus in order to attach them to the chain. Excellent fine motor activity.

James is quite good at spelling, and he enjoys it too, so I know this one will be a huge hit. We're using our Moveable Alphabet to accompany this activity.

It's surprising how large some of these charms are! I image we all looked pretty ridiculous, little as we were, carrying around this mass amount of giant plastic charms around our necks! Their varying size make for a good measuring activity, though. :)

The rest of my learning activity list includes:
:: arithmetic
:: mystery bag
:: counting - skip/ordinals/rote
:: more sorting - by color/exact type (I have many duplicates)
:: transferring - tweezing/pouring/tonging
:: shadow matching
:: bingo
:: pretend play

If any of you can think of more learning activities, let me know! I'll gift one charm to the first 5 people who comment on this post with an idea! :D

~Thank you for your comments!~


Such Amazing Things said...

OH MY GOODNESS!! Did I really see a purple sewing machine??!! I'm in love!!

I think my kids would absolutely delight in having a scavenger hunt for these. I would take a picture of each charm and print them out on a sheet. Then I would hide each of the charms (in not such difficult places for the little ones) and let them search for them.

Karen said...

Lovely!! I love those!! sooo cool!! and love the idea of using them to spelling!!!
Big Hugs!!

Dawn said...

I used to have tons of those. I forgot about them completely. What a fun stroll down memory lane.
Blessings, Dawn

Summer said...

I DO remember these!!! I had a ton of them. I wonder whatever happened to them all. Looks like fun. :)

Unknown said...

I forgot about them to, as soon as I saw them I was taken back to my elementary days!! Wish I still had mine they would be great to use in the classroom :)

Jess Cox said...

What about putting them in a bag and having your kid pull out a few and tell you a story with them? Does that make sense?

Shaheen said...

Oh these does bring back good memories. :)
I would categorise them as a theme e.g picnic in a park and make the child chose what belongs in that story :) KInd of like story starters!

They are adorable!!!

Hillary said...

You came up with fantastic ideas already. For when he is older, you can use it for story writing. He could have a bag of charms and pull a charm out of a bag one at a time, then incorporate it into his story.

Mommy to the Princesses said...

Awesome ideas already, but how about after sorting, you graph them for a little data analysis!

Sheri said...

!!! I have been missing my charm necklace for awhile now. I have no idea where it ended up -probably in a garage sale :( I loved that thing - i may have to purchase some online :) I had a lot of the sames ones I see in your pictures!

Mandy said...

Totally forgot about these. Could be used as a tool to learn colors for younger kiddos.

Unknown said...

I loved my charm necklace!! Thank you for a great memory reminder. Who would of thought all those lessons could evolve from such a craze? :)

Unknown said...

You could create silly sentences using a grab bag-put the charms in a bag and have your student choose 2 or 3 of the charms to create a silly sentence.

I remember having them hang off of backpacks, belts, shoes...thanks for bringing back some great 80s memories!

Dawn Grobe said...

I think I still have a yellow toothbrush somewhere in my jewelry box. I loved these. We used to buy them at the drugstore. You think of the best ideas.

Anonymous said...

Oh my what a great memories of these you just triggered! I used to LOVE these. Thanks for the great idea!

Counting Coconuts said...

Thanks so much for your comments and ideas, ladies! And I'm glad this post brought back fun memories for some of you. :)

graciegirl said...

I love these! I am not able to find them on ebay. Any search suggestions would be great.

Counting Coconuts said...

Graciegirl - they are out there on Ebay, I promise! I just looked and there are nearly 40 listings:

I think it's the search phrase that's key to finding them. I always search for "80's bell charm" or "vintage 80's plastic bell charm". HTH!

graciegirl said...

AHHHHHHH! Yes! Thank you! ;)


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