We’re not saying you need to leggo your LEGO (like your kids would ever let that happen). We’re huge LEGO fans! But this holiday season, we just want you to know about some really cool alternative building systems out there that’ll get little hands playing and little minds working.
As a bonus, some of these blocks and things are a little softer than LEGO bricks. Which might matter to you if you have a knack for stomping on them barefoot, like I do. Just sayin’.
Like wooden blocks gone through a major makeover, Twig blocks come in vibrant colors and cool shapes that work together to let kids build bright, modern-looking structures. We love that the shapes are easy for even the littlest hands to maneuver. Plus there’s no “right” way to play or any rules to follow. (Except for the rule about no throwing wood blocks at your brother.)
For kids who want more building precision, City Blocs have been tested and approved by one of our editors, whose kids were amazed at the many permutations that could be achieved by the precision cut, light-as-air wood blocks. When we reviewed them, they were only available in a natural wood finish, but now, you can also buy sets in cool colors, hot colors, and neon, not to mention trees and cars to add to your City Block city blocks.
We love that this toy is out-of-the-box fun for elementary-aged kids who may just want to make cool 3D shapes or things they can incorporate into their everyday play. But it also gives older kids (and even adults!) a hands-on way to better understand such complicated concepts as fractal symmetry. Pieces are hard plastic, and those little spheres can roll everywhere, though the structures seem to hold together really well. For something totally different, Zometool models can even be dipped into bubble solution to create cool bubble shapes. Outside, of course.
And, again, flat things don’t hurt quite as much when you step on them on the stairs at midnight and fall and get wretched rug burns. Because yes, mommies sometimes hold grudges against tiny red bricks. -Delilah
For more cool toys for kids, check our archives!