Frank Lloyd Wright attributes his architectural genius to a set of blocks his mother bought him when he was young. Blocks are a wonderful gift for any child. Building requires logical thinking and creativity. Creating structures with unusual and out of the ordinary materials is especially good for the mind. These are some traditional as well as new ideas to add to your building and construction sets.
Barclay Blocks is my favorite place to buy standard building blocks. They make the blocks themselves, so there is no middle guy. They have several sets ranging from beginner to school packs. Plus, they have booster kits that you can buy later to add play value as your child starts constructing more complex buildings. Barclay offers three kinds of wood: maple firsts, maple seconds, and European beech. Check out their website for details on the different woods and sets. These blocks are the best value for your money, they ship fast, and your children will get years of play out of them.
These brightly colored Dado Cubes have slits down the sides so they can be stacked in all sorts of unusual ways. These cubes take the idea of nesting cubes and renew the play value by being able to build horizontally with them. They also make a monochromatic set in blue.
New from the same company are Dado Squares which offer a new medium with which to build.
Wedgits are a great example of something unusual used to build familiar things such as the animals featured on the box. What a great way to build creative thinking! These look so much fun. They also have colored sets now as well as design cards.
Now these are a truly unique way to build and construct, while quite abstract Shapescapes offer hundreds of possibilities for sculptures. As your children get older have them draw the structure after they build it, they may become the next Picasso!
Lincoln Logs are a more traditional building toy. The authentic sets are expensive, but this set of Frontier Logs from Discount School Supply comes with 160 pieces that look just like the real thing. Discount School Supply offers a variety of building and construction toys, check them all out under "manipulatives" on their homepage.
Magnetic building sets are really big right now. This set of Magneatos from GuideCraft comes with straight pieces and balls but they have another set with curves. The pieces from this set are too big to choke on but they do have an intermediate set with smaller rods and balls. I ordered these for my son's third birthday and I can't wait to start playing with them.
If you are interested in having me review your product on my blog please email me at thetoysnob(at)gmail(dot)com!