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Every Girl Should Have These Toys
LEGO is another “must have” building system. The trick is not to introduce them too early – our 7 year old still has problems pulling small LEGO bricks apart or snapping them fully together, and that frustrates her. Luckily, her Papa is usually available to help – he is an amazing LEGO builder, and he brought his childhood LEGO collection with him from Germany. I have one advice on LEGO – please don’t go wild on building kits, since they limit kids to perfect models designed by adults. We invested a lot in sets of building blocks, wheels, and doors/windows instead. DUPLO was also a good investment for us – our daughter spent many hours building with Duplo blocks when she was younger, and even now favors them over Lego blocks, because she has better control over them.
I believe that Snap Circuits by Elenco are quickly becoming a “classic” toy for this generation. The idea is brilliant – young kids can build pretty complex things that actually work following well laid out instructions and using integrated circuit components. We received this simple set as a Christmas present when daughter was young 5, and she was able to use it right away with some supervision. She chose Snap Circuits Pro as a present from her German Opa for her seventh birthday and built several projects completely independently. When she is older, she will hopefully understand not only that things work, but also how they work.
While we are talking about building tools, let’s not forget plain old paper or a fancy origami paper. It’s rather sad that many kids today can whip up things in Minecraft, but cannot fold a paper plane or a paper boat. My husband is not only a LEGO master builder, he also designs amazing things out of paper and our daughter is now experimenting with paper folds when she has time. Hopefully she inherits some of her father’s talents!
The Toys We Got Too Early
We got Tinkertoy as a birthday present when daughter was 3. The box also says 3+. My daughter played with this set a lot, but the play that she played over and over again involved scattering smaller pieces all over the room and “fishing” for them with a couple of sticks connected together. So it gets an A+ for us for inspiring imaginative play, but I am yet to see anything built with this set in our house.
When Smarty starting talking about becoming a mechanical engineer, we thought that it would be great to get this Engino Simple Machines set by the same company that produces Snap Circuits set to introduce her to mechanical science. This set is a super set of several smaller Elenco sets, and is great, except that it’s truly designed for kids 8+. She can build with it, but some connections require more finger strength that she possesses, and the teaching booklet that comes with it asks for more investment in time from parents that we were prepared to give. So we put it away for a year and two and will get it out from our “toy library” when she is more ready for it.
Worth the Investment
We got Wedgits when Smarty was 3, and she never stopped playing with them. In fact, she asked for Wedgits Expansion Set for her 7th birthday, so she could build more elaborate structures with them. The system is fairly open-ended, and the only warning I have is that smaller pieces can get lost easily unless you make sure to put this set away properly.
Magna Tiles set is expensive, but definitely worth investing in, especially if you have more than one kid. It is visually pleasing and very open ended. Daughter spent many hours building towers, zoo pens and various shapes with it. It’s also great for exploring geometric concepts with older children.
Want More Amazing Gift Ideas?
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