Our Favourite Open-Ended Toys: Natural Building Blocks.
I'm often asked for recommendations for resources and, having spent a lot of time playing with children, buying and selling various things over the years, I now feel able to share our favourites with you.
Natural building blocks.
Natural building blocks are one of the very few resources that I recommend investing heavily in. Ours are played with EVERY day, and have been the most popular resource with all the children that attend my childcare setting. We have the 'Introductory Unit Block Set' from Community Playthings (pictured), which you can find here. We also have the 'Mini Unit Blocks', which you can find here, which share modular dimensions with the unit blocks, so work wonderfully well together. The mini unit blocks can be used for smaller projects, or to add detail to larger builds. Although on the pricey side (!), all Community Playthings products are designed for early years settings, so are built to last and come with a 10 year guarantee. 'Blocks are velvet smooth and all edges are evenly curved. Cut to within 0.25mm to ensure the stability of your children's structures'. I do not work for Community Playthings, and am not on commission for making recommendations, but I REALLY rate their products.
I personally prefer natural building blocks over coloured, and believe that they are better for developing the imagination. Children can concentrate solely on the shapes that they need to build, and can add colourful details later, if desired. They also look so beautiful in your play space.
If the Community Playthings blocks are beyond your budget (which they would have been for me too, had I not been buying them for my business), then these are a great alternative (see affiliate link below). I've recommended this set to a few of my friends who have gone on to buy them, and feedback has been good. However, if you have young children, and possibly more on the way, then an excellent natural building block set would be my number one investment.
Here are some photographs of our unit blocks in action over the years...