CONSTRUCTION TOYS DECONSTRUCTED.
None of us have the time for me to sit and list the benefits of construction, but trust and believe me when I say…CONSTRUCTION RULES. From maths and science, social and emotional, problem solving, confidence, trial and error, and pure enjoyment, there are few activities and events that rival the excitement in a child when this stuff is thrown out on a matt. There are approximately a billion brilliant toys to choose from but here I have listed 5 of the ones I personally have seen kids lose there cool over.
Side note: I have left lego out of this list intentionally. Hey, there’s a movie about the stuff. Me thinks they be doin’ fine without my endorsement.
Poly M is essentially small plastic shapes that interlock with molded inserts. Its simple, easy to use design makes it a great construction toy for the younger children. I should mention also that even though it is still plastic, its kinda soft so accidently treading on it in the dead of night, wont be as life threatening to your mobility as some of its construction counter parts. What makes this a gem of a product, however, is it comes with people. But wait, not slim wasted, highly buffed figurines with flowing locks of impossible beauty, no, these people are uni-sexed shapeless tubes. BAM!!!
MAGFORMERS (magnetic construction)
I’m not entirely sure where to start with this product. My understanding (and happy to be corrected) is it has really only found its feet in the market over the last few years, but my word, this thing is a game changer. In one particular Centre I worked in, we were forced to triple our order in the space of 6 months due to its popularity.
Using magnetism to connect, and colored sides to distinguish polarity, this thing is a scientist dream. Being magnetic they also stick to a heap of random things adding a much richer experience. Highly addictive, highly educational, good for all ages and somewhat of a mind trip.
Its Mobilo, Nuff Said.
The zoob has a special place in my heart. Its ball joint design do make it somewhat unique and its surprising versatility make it a fun toy for kids to start without a plan, and follow their ideas as they form in their heads. It is very easy to use and its joinery system has a healthy dose of education about it. Make a note however; if you tread on this it will do one of two things. It will either hurt, enough for you to say words in front of your kids that no amount of construction play will remove from their brains, or two, it will break, rendering that piece’s ability to join onto its zoob mates, hopeless. This will in turn, incite a fresh batch of expletives your children should not here as you throw the toy (and your money) into the bin.
That aside, the zoob is one heck of a piece of construction magic.
I have left this till last for a good reason. All the above items can be costly, there is no doubt about that, but also, there is a lot of plastic, and truth be told, perhaps the world has had enough of plastic.
I worked in a Day Care once that retrieved a bunch of off cuts and sticks and simply sanded the edges to make them child friendly and then hurled them on the matt for the kids to play. And they did. Continuously.
I urge you, seriously, get yourself a 30c piece of sand paper. Borrow someone’s saw and go make your own. Find a fallen branch and cut it up into different size lengths. It feels great, it smells great, it looks great. And YOU made it. That, my friends, is A1 parenting.
SIDE NOTE: Construction toys (and just about anything else designed for a child) can be, and usually are, very expensive. So be sure to exhaust all avenues before randomly buying packets of anything. Most stuff can be found for second hand, and after a quick hot soapy soak, are usually pretty good to go. Another option is to find a family in the same constructional wasteland. Share the cost and share the toys. Yes, this does require effort and actually having to see people but you know, heaps cheaper.
So… Go get building.