My love of interesting versatile developmental toys started many years ago, initially due to the collection my sister put together for her boys. Later during my work in program development and creating a community/family developmental toy lending library I had so many things in mind that I pictured our future children loving, learning, creating and exploring with.
I thought I would share the favourites that we own and love with you.
There are many varying opinions for toys out there, and we are toy enthusiasts so you will find no judgement here or great toy debate. I firmly believe that in following your child and their passions it will lead you to some amazing choices that are a fantastic fit for them.
The moments I feel that the amount of toys become an issue (speaking for us here) is if I haven't planned storage to house them in a manageable child friendly and accessible way. At times if I get overwhelmed with organization I try to remember that it was I who made these purchases in love.
As our children grow we make toy choices based more specific interests. We have amazing family support who ask us what our children would love in terms of gifts. We also take advantage of great local used sites to find deals on more expensive items like Playmobil. In Canada we also have a discount retailer Winners/Home Sense that often has amazing deals on incredible (often more expensive toys) found at exclusive retailers.
Our children love a range toys, and toys designed for all types of design and construction. They also have a tremendous love of creative and imaginative dramatic play so we have lots of dress up, different types of dolls and figures (especially Playmobil) and puppets. Art and crafting supplies etc.
In this post I will concentrate on our developmental toy collection and our current storage set up in our new (er) family room. We designed and built our family room addition last fall with help from family, friends and neighbours. This was a huge amount of work! In the end we were able to design the room around our needs, and most importantly greatly needed storage. We live in an old historic house that we adore, but storage space had always been an issue. Planning for this space was many years in the making, so it was pretty amazing to see it take form.
On to our our toy favourites! Remember this is a collection that grew over many years with our
children. These are all toys and materials that we own and purchased. None of the toys featured here are paid for product review. The links we will provide are affiliate links that if clicked are at no cost to you, but could result in a small amount to help fund our site. Thank you in advance!
Marble Run is by far one of our most favourite toys to design and build with. It's incredible in all aspects of learning related building concepts like stability, balance, gravity, potential and kinetic energy. It's just amazing. it can be quite challenging for younger builders and we often built with our children. As they grew they experimented with amazing designs on their own.
Wedgits are by far in our top 5 favourite design and construct toys. They make many expansion sets, and have a great variety of design cards. We bought two of the large design plates, because if one is building it's guaranteed that someone will want to join in!
This is an amazing fun and simple system to build all kinds of structures, animals and simple machines. They have amazing design booklets that come with their sets.
Ava absolutely LOVES Peg Stackers. This is an amazing design experience. We have learned about balance, creating foundations for structural stability and planning.
We were given this game as a gift. It's an incredible gaming tool to explore balance and symmetry. This has been so well loved.
Geometry Sticks Box
One of our favourite Montessori materials that falls into Design & Construct for us, is our Geometry Sticks Box. This box has amazing scope in terms of lessons, but for pure and simple design exploration possibilities it's a beautiful material to play and experiment with.
We are in love with all forms of Lego. Ava still loves to create large scale scenes with duplo with our large design plate. Lego Robotics NXT system, Power Functions, and Technic have been huge favourites.
We have a large collection of different blocks for building. Blocks provide infinite possibilities to design and construct. The sets we own are Basic Building Blocks, Rainbow Stackers and Architectural Blocks. Our growing collection of blocks are housed together is this huge green bin from Ikea.
Zoob is an amazing socket style movable construction set. The design possibilities are endless. We have built everything from crowns to dinosaurs! We have made hands, and body parts you name it!
We use Connectagons for free form building. Your designs need to be well balanced so it can be a fun challenge. They are beautiful and fun to build with.
There are many varieties of these blocks on the market. We have a couple of sets to incorporate wheels. These are amazing and have been a long time favourite in our house. They are amazing for small children in that they are utterly fascinated by just plugging the blocks together.
Later on our children experimented with more complex building with them.
They are beautiful and so much fun to play with.
Gears are an amazing introduction to small machines. We have created so many fun designs and challenges that incorporate vertical moving structures. There are many expansion packs for Gears, we own the basic set.
Montessori Knobless Cylinders
The Knobless Cylinders are an amazing Sensorial Design Material. We have spent hours creating free form designs, and also using design cards. you can find many cards online for free or in a sensorial extensions manual.
Montessori Pink Tower & Brown Stair
The Pink Tower & Brown Stair have a far reaching scope of learning if you are using them for extended Montessori Curriculum purpose at home. They are an early extremely clever material that indirectly introduces the child to mathematics and sensorial evaluation of materials in terms of weight and size. In terms of design extensions, they are absolutely stunning to work with.
They have been one of our favourites. You can find extension cards online or in an extension sensorial manual.
We have loved Snap Circuits! We have many expansion kits. This set has been an amazing opportunity to explore circuits and early electronics. We store our kits in a large tool box.
This is our new storage bin setup.
Each bin contains one set. The doors to the left contain puzzles and games.
Good luck with your exploration in design and construction at home!
Thanks for visiting with us!