After reading a blog by Teacher Tom regarding a hamster wheel, I knew I wanted to have one in my classroom as well. The point of his post regarding the wheel in his class was inspiring and talked about the children's respect for the work of each other. His children are older than my toddlers, so I knew the waiting for a turn to use the hamster wheel wouldn't happen with my boys, but the idea of using the hamster wheel as a manipulative was so exciting!
A few weeks ago, I found one at the goodwill. I quickly snatched it up and looked forward to placing it in the room. I put it in a tray with a few bowls and some pom poms. I thought that they might enjoy sticking the pom poms inside and spinning it, or maybe simply just spinning it. Once the boys discovered it, everyone wanted to use it and we had some practice figuring out how more than one person can use it at the same time. It tricky, but SW and GW figured it out. They pushed the pom poms inside and through the hamster wheel watching as they fell.
At the end of the week, I found that the boys' favorite way of using the wheel was carrying it around and banging it on things. Unfortunately this caused one of the supporting wires to detach from it's solder, and it is heading over to the Preschool House where maybe it can be used a bit more gently. It make sense that they enjoy using it this way sense there has been a lot of hammering, so now my though process is evolving to follow that need. Perhaps drums or xylophones are in our future!