Does the next Frank Lloyd Wright live under your roof? Last week, I launched my latest series: Architecture and Engineering for Preschool. Over the coming weeks, my girls (ages 4 and 2) will explore a great list of books and activities, featuring the toys and supplies below. If you have a basic set of blocks and the household supplies and recyclables that is certainly enough to follow along with us. But if you want to expand your toy collection, these are some awesome engineering toys for kids – and an option to access them for less!
Awesome Architecture & Engineering Toys for Kids
I’m not sure when or how it began. All toddlers love Mega Bloks and LEGO DUPLO. But Big M has always been infatuated with them. She will sit for hours building – stables for her horses, castles for her princesses, houses, roads, bridges. One day, during quiet time, she took everything out of her cubby shelf and set up rooms for her princesses with furniture made out of LEGO DUPLO pieces!
Quiet time is, selfishly, for my own mental sanity… But it is also important children have unstructured, independent play, to explore wherever their imaginations take them. ??? Last night, when getting Big M ready for bed, she showed me her latest quiet time creation – ‘a new bedroom for Ariel.’ ?? She turned one of the cubbies in her toy shelf into a bedroom with #LegoDuplo furniture. Another cubby featured Christmas decorations. ? I love how uninhibited their imaginations are – be sure you give them a chance to put them to use! #playmatters #kidsneedplay
So for Christmas, Santa and the grandmas fed her interest, and expanded her arsenal of architectural and engineering toys for kids. I tend to err on the side of open-ended construction toys vs. a specific set intended to build just one thing, but all of these are great starting points for a construction collection, and will make appearances in our Architecture & Engineering for Preschool series in the coming weeks. Click on the pictures below to buy your own.
And don’t worry – you can still join in the fun without all these toys (see the list of household supplies below!) and our tip to save on LEGO and K’NEX.
| Learning Resources
Gears Sweet Shop
|Melissa and Doug
|Mega Bloks||LEGO DUPLO||Kid K’NEX|
|Foam Block Set||Crazy Forts|
Affordable Toy Solution
Having received many of the above toys as gifts, I wasn’t fully aware of just how expensive all those toys can be until writing this! We all know that LEGO is the gold standard when it comes to construction toys for kids. And as Money Magazine recently pointed out, LEGO has been a better investment than the stock market or gold since 2000.
That sure doesn’t make it hurt your wallet any less when your child wants a new set every month. Last month, my sister told me my nephew wanted a $200 LEGO set for Christmas, and I almost fell out of my chair! And just a few weeks after Christmas, I am painfully aware how quickly their interest wanes in most new toys. Want a solution for both?
Pley is a subscription, toy rental company that makes obtaining new LEGO sets affordable. It’s like Netflix for LEGOs (including DUPLO and popular Star Wars and Disney Princess sets), as well as K’NEX and a few other brands. All plans include free delivery and unlimited monthly rentals, and plans start as low as $19.99 per month. Make your list of requests, Pley sends you a set, and when you are a ready for the next set on your list, send it back! If you decide you want to keep it, there’s an option for that too.
Get all the details by clicking through on the image below. I’m tempted to subscribe for myself just to get a chance to build all the LEGO Architecture series!
Household Supplies for STEM Series
Now that you are set with LEGOs, blocks, gears and more, many of our projects will feature far more affordable options, using basic household items and recyclables.
- Sugar cubes
- Gummy candy or miniature marshmallows
- Pipe cleaners
- Craft sticks
- Play dough
- Construction paper and/or cardstock
- Cardboard tubes
- Cardboard boxes
Now that you are all armed with your reading list for the series and school supply list, next week we will be ready to get to work! For our first activity we will be Making Monuments, representing the letter M, as part of Crafty Kids at Home’s A-Z Indoor Play series. Be sure to bookmark the series landing page, Architecture and Engineering for Kids, and check in every Wednesday for the next post.