Build it/make it
Building kits, tools, blocks and other construction toys usually feature in today’s toy boxes. From satisfyingly simple wooden blocks, to multicoloured bricks of all shapes and sizes, then on to hard hats and hi-visibility jackets; construction toys are timeless favourites with boys and girls alike. As soon as children can grasp, sort and match objects they try to put them together and build some kinds of basic structures. Children build for the pure joy of being creative – for the joy of causing structures to appear by their actions. They copy buildings they see and try to rebuild and make sense of the world. These building and stacking skills are so simple, and so elemental, that it’s easy to forget how important they are. Simple, evenly-sized blocks are perfect for starters, and different materials and textures can be fascinating for little hands and minds. Older children move on to brightly coloured blocks and kits, and tool benches and tool kits, as they role-play occupations like builders and bricklayers.
Building block sets
Some of the most recognisable branded toys are building block sets. Most of us can remember the big chunky blocks we first used, and then moving on to the smaller, more intricate construction blocks. Small to medium-sized starter kits are excellent to start a child’s collection, and can be expanded at birthdays and Christmas. The best kits have the simplest designs but have the flexibility and variety to include blocks of all shapes and sizes and also to incorporate things like wheels and windows, vehicles and little figures. These adaptable kits are perfect for expanding imaginations.
Tool benches and play tools
Children see people doing jobs and they copy what they see. Tool benches and play tools are perfect role-play items, making children feel as grown-up as mum and dad, with their drills and work benches. Benches and kits can be accessorised with hard hats and construction jackets, so the little ones really look the part and take pride in working alongside mum or dad.
Eventually, many children graduate onto building or construction kits. These kits can be to make vehicles or even miniature structures or houses themselves. There are kits available to make and paint cardboard castles and houses – for children to make into dens and playhouses – or miniature kits with real cement, to build and rebuild little kit houses. These kits are the ultimate in construction toys, as they can be built and rebuilt, and played with for months to come.
Construction toys are some of the most long-lasting favourites, as they are so flexible and imaginative. Blocks and kits can be used in so many different ways, and in all sorts of different games. It’s not unusual to see children mixing different sets up – using blocks to build bridges over train tracks, for example. And these kits are great value for money as they provide hundreds of play hours, for very little cost.