Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dad50 #2 Wooden Blocks

Wooden blocks can't be beat. So says my 10-yr old. Not necessarily out loud, but certainly that's the opinion voiced by the intricate structures that appear regularly on the play room floor. Castles, forts and assorted other bastion have been the almost daily fare for the past ~3 years. Most structures are defended by a stout collection of hardy souls, prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice (and they usually do) against the rampaging horde of Barbarians/Vikings/Romans/Stormtroopers the gates. For a while I took pics of the scenes, the battle-lines and eventual carnage/body count, but was soon swamped by sheer volume of creativity (and given the thematic elements began to wonder when to consider putting him in therapy).

Poor wookie.

As you can see from the pics, blocks go with all sorts of other toys. And the the golden rule with wooden blocks is: more the merrier. But as any trip to a traditional toy store will tell you, they are ridiculously expensive for a piece of dead tree. The solution is to buy starter sets of blocks with a range of shapes, then supplement the collection with DIY blocks. Go to you local hardware and buy lengths and shapes of different sizes. Hardwood is best, but pine is also fine. Cut them up with a power miter-saw (simple 90 degree cuts), doing as good a job as possible to make the lengths a standard size (eg what is common in the starter set), as well as some blocks of double-length. This will give you, I mean your kid(s), the most flexibility when constructing. Use a hand sander to smooth the blocks off. There is no need to paint or lacquer them, unless you have the time and energy (although that makes a great extra Dad/Kid project). Wooden blocks are so hardy, that even with an intensive builder in your midst, your grandkids will eventually be playing with them.

Dad U
- enable creativity


  1. That's fantastic!

    Alas, I've got 2 girls, so it's probably going to be tea sets for me.

  2. @gopopgo Then you need to build them a wooden kitchen: