Rather worryingly, I’ve developed a particular love of our toddler’s wooden building blocks. Worrying, because it’s become something of an obsession.
It all started when I got an update from Elizabeth’s nursery informing me she’d spent the morning building towers and then knocking them down. As this was something she clearly enjoyed, I tried doing the same with her at home.
At first she wasn’t interested in the wooden blocks in the home environment. It had to be plastic Mega Bloks or she wouldn’t play. Over time, however, she became more liberal and the wooden blocks have become a firm favourite.
Big sister, Helen, has started joining in with this activity. With Helen’s arrival on the scene, things have been getting competitive. Who can build the biggest tower out of wooden blocks; daddy or his oldest daughter? Equally as importantly, who can build their tower before daddy’s youngest daughter wanders over and knocks everything down?
I think these blocks have unleashed some latent engineering skills from deep within my psyche. I’ve built the most complex structures you can imagine involving small squares, big squares, triangles, ovals and so on.
As for foundations, well, this is where the real skill lies. Have you ever built a 35cm tall structure that balances on four upturned triangles? I bet you haven’t.
I have discovered there’s a limit to what can be achieved with wooden blocks. Rarely is it possible to get above 40cm without the structure becoming unstable and falling apart. If you use Mega Bloks, you can get well above a metre but wood, it seems, has its limits.
While I’ve developed an obsession about the whole thing, it’s great helping and watching the kids use such classic toys. They encourage creativity and problem solving, help with motor skills, don’t require batteries or mains electricity, don’t have to be plugged into a USB port and are completely gender neutral. Age, it would seem, is also no barrier to enjoying them.