I went on a little Goodwill shopping binge last night and spent $20. That is a lot of stuff for the classroom! Most of the $20 was spent on pots and pans for dramatic play (which I'll share more about soon), but I also spent 99 cents on something that proved to be engaging in a different way.
We have a large white board in our classroom - it used to be an elementary school classroom. We have scribbled with marker and played with some random magnets on it, but this 99 cent "Monkey Puzzle" that I purchased drew children to the whiteboard. Magnets were shifted constantly; no one was possessive about their creation after they left it, making this natural flow of work throughout the morning. I would have loved to see a time lapse of the changes on the board - perhaps that will be for another day.
How do we know what is going to be engaging for children? What can I learn from this experience today? How will the children feel about the magnets tomorrow, next week, in a month?