Posts Tagged ‘open-ended toy’

Marbles and Ramps

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

marbles-and-rampsmarbles-and-ramps-2marbles-and-ramps-3marbles-and-ramps-4A runner-up to the top ten best open-ended toys of all time would have to be marbles and ramps. Watching marbles rolling down ramps and around and around in circles down a drain-like disk can be quite relaxing. My kids have always loved our marbles and ramps sets, rearranging them in different configurations. Sometimes their ramps were taller than my kids! Even Grandpa enjoyed watching the marbles rolling down the ramps!

#1 Costumes

Friday, December 17th, 2010


I have used costumes more than any other toys for homeschooling. They bring learning to life and are a sheer pleasure just for the fun of it. Sword fights, playing Davy Crocket, having Wild West shootouts, doing medieval feasts and Civil War re-enactments, costumes are open-ended and limitless in their potential.


Some time in the future, I will be giving workshops on how to use costumes in your homeschool. Truly, it is phenomenal what you can do with them. Your children will never see history the same. Put on a white lab coat, and suddenly chemistry is so much more fun. I’ve taught my children the deep truths of Scripture through costumes. Geography comes to life as well as history, as you dress up for different cultures.


Literature comes to life, too: my boys have run around like Robin Hood, shooting foam arrows at each other. Just look at my website, and you will see costumes everywhere. That is our life, and I can’t imagine homeschooling without them.


#2 K’nex

Thursday, December 16th, 2010


Okay, so why did K’nex win over Legos, my husband wants to know? Even my oldest son was shocked until he paused and said, “Actually, I love them both equally.” Being the mother, I know that my kids ask for K’nex more than they ask for Legos. It’s true. Hit me with tomatoes if you want to. I won’t back down. We’ve made simple machines with them, to learn more about scientific principles. Building bridges and roller coasters actually teaches you engineering. And the structures that my children have built have been way more interesting than Legos. (Ouch! That one hit me in the eye. You can stop throwing tomatoes now.)


You might have thought, how did I come up with the top 10 best open-ended toys ever? Well, I went through thousands and thousands of my pictures, putting into folders any picture that was good, that showed an open-ended toy. Hands down, K’nex won overwhelmingly. My folder of “good pictures” of K’nex was bursting with 80 pictures, compared to the few dozen for Legos. So an impartial judge would have to conclude that K’nex wins over Legos. After all, you can connect them in more innovative ways than you can with Legos. (I’m sure my husband could make a case that this is not true, since he is smitten by Legos, but I must be objective here.) Boom! Case closed.











#3 Legos

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010


To be honest, the top three toys of all time tied. I had to think long and hard to actually pull Legos to 3rd place. My husband would have placed Legos in first place as his favorite childhood toy, and to the credit of Legos, my husband STILL plays with them! Yes, there are grown-up Legos called Lego Robotics, and even though they’re pricey, you can make real robots with Legos! One robot my husband made could find an object that was red, and bring the object back to the owner.


We started with Duplo Legos when our children were babies and toddlers, because of the choking hazard of a normal set. The Duplos have train track available, and my three little boys (and my daughter) all loved watching the train go around the track. My husband built me a rose with Duplos, connecting each Lego with one prong at an angle. I was impressed. Even though I played with Legos as a child, I never considered connecting them in that way. My husband never ceases to amaze me.


As our children have grown, we have graduated to the normal set and gotten rid of the Duplos, which I used for math equations and sequencing. Now my children build cities, pirate ships, and absolutely anything their imagination can conceive of.



Yes, Legos deserves to be #1, and I apologize to have to put it in 3rd, because it’s not right. But the other two toys can’t be 3rd either!

Take a look at this fun contraption made out of Legos!