Indeed they do! I think it's because they are different. They are not pre-packaged toys - they are something outside of the box. I also present the objects before independant use, so the children have an idea of how they may manipulate the objects. Not because I don't think they would come up with their own solutions - but because some kids simply need a stepping off point. Besides I think it also makes the object more important since they were presented as something special.
Here the children use the I Spy Christmas Tubes and some Christmas icecube trays with glitter pompoms & Christmas erasers. Great for fine motor practice, sorting , matching, sequencing, counting and sensory stimulation etc. The presents our magical elf 'Stanley' brought for the children to count. The puzzle the one boy is using was very difficult, but he is a really great puzzle expert! He even stumped one of our teachers - he had to show her how it went together! LOL It's really interesting to watch the children use the objects with great interest since most people would simply look at them as just stuff without a purpose.
So - do they use that stuff? YUP!
This week I added magnets with a jar of jingle bells and pipe cleaners bent into candy canes.