Toys for tots: Be a Blockhead

I just saw an article in the local paper with the title “The Great Toy Debate: Parents weigh high-tech vs. back-to-basics fun.”

I didn’t read the article. I didn’t need to because I made that call just after the birth of my second child.

I headed for a well-known toy store in New York City. (It wasn’t FAO Schwartz, though I have a post about that coming up.)

I went to that store to buy some blocks. You might say I was a blockhead.

I spent several hundred dollars on basic wooden blocks. Big blocks, the kind you find in a nursery school or kindergarten class.

There is no better toy.

They feel wonderful in the hand. You can use them to fill up a large space. There are no pre-defined rules. You are limited only by your imagination. They encourage collaboration.

If they are big enough they also don’t take long to put away. Indeed, they may even provide instruction on packing. (Whether because of those blocks or because of his years as a Boy Scout, my son can pack all the possessions you need for a week-long hike across the desert into a bag the size of a cereal box.)

All my children used those blocks. We got over a decade’s use out of them. Our youngest used them until she was nine or so, at which point we gave them to one of our nieces. They were still as useable as the day we bought them, as those blocks are nearly indestructible.

Save the high-tech until later. Use low-tech to learn the basic skills first.

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