Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Top 5 Building Toys for Preschool, PreK, and up!

My class has always loved building toys.  Our construction week gives us an opportunity to use our favorites...and more.
Over the years I'v noticed that my kiddos seem to gravitate to certain building sets more than others.  I know if I put any of these 5 toys out at our block center...the learning, creativity and problem solving skills will be tested and improved!
#1...Melissa and Doug Jumbo Extra Thick Cardboard Blocks in 3 Sizes!  I have a small classroom, so I move the block table out of the room and set out 2 big bins of these blocks.  The kids absolutely love the space and freedom of using the floor and the adjacent shelves and wall in their building.  This year they created an amazing castle!  They were so excited to show me their structure and tell me how they worked together to make an amazing structure.

#2...Magnatiles!  My kiddos love Magnatiles!  They can build up and down, and they can make really wonderful flat designs on the table or floor as well.  Magnatiles are sturdy, durable, come in beautiful jewel tones, and they are so versatile!  When I put magnates out for free play or centers, there are always lots of kids waiting for a turn.  The only drawback to Magnatiles is the expense.  I know there are some knock offs out there but I have yet to try them out.  If you have...I'd love a review!

# 3 Foam Unit Blocks.  Unit blocks are awesome!  We have a wood set, but the foam set...though not as sturdy, are quiet.  For a small classroom that can be a lifesaver!  They are considerably less expensive than traditional wood unit blocks, and the potential for creating amazing structures is still there!  My kiddos love them!

# 4 Lego Duplo Blocks.  Kids LOVE Legos...I use Duplo in my classroom to eliminate choking hazards.  The hand strength and fine motor skills needed to build with Legos is fantastic for development.  The creativity unleashed by legos is second to none.  Legos are my absolute favorite block center toy...and I think the kids would agree!

# 5 Nuts and Bolts Builder.  It never fails...each year I put out my Nuts and Bolts building set and I'm asked if it can be brought out the next day.  There are so many different configurations and things to do with this simple set, the kids NEVER run out of interesting and unique things to build.  I think this set is a MUST for any Preschool or PreK classroom.  It sparks creativity and imagination as it builds fine motor strength and problem solving skills.  We love this toy so much that is is almost time to buy a new one...but it has been going strong for over 8 years!  Well worth the initial investment!

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