There is something instinctively different about how boys play as opposed to girls at play. This is not a new phenomenon it has been around since human inception. Have a chat with your grandparents or someone from an older generation and you will learn that the construction themed toys that boys played with generations ago are very similar to the more popular ones of today. In saying that though most building toys for boys go down like a lead balloon when offered to most girls for their play; just like hair accessories for girls will get quickly rejected when offered to boys for play. This post is not about why; that is an entire can is worms that I won’t chime into here. This article is more about recognizing what boys like and using them to build on the boys strengths (building! get the pun?) and using it to build their confidence and hopefully self-esteem along the way.
Here is a very appropriate quote I read on Pinterest. If anyone can tell me who said it please comment below so I can credit them.
Boys tend to thrive in the material world – creating, inventing and manipulating the material world to their benefit and showing off to those who can’t achieve such feats of brilliance.
There is a huge amount of satisfaction that boys (and men) get from building something out of nothing. Wouldn’t you like to give your boy a little taste of that satisfaction. Below I have chosen my top 4 building toys to help you do that.
Build your own Fort
My first building toy come in the form of a fort. Any fans of minecraft or fortnite out there? If your boy plays any of the construction based video games then you can be sure that something like this Nerf fort will go down a treat.
What I really like about this game though is that it is not a 2 dimensional video game. I am a huge advocate of introducing my boys to the third dimension that they forget about especially when they are locked into that video game zombie mode.
The larger size of these pieces make building a kid size fort very quick and very simple. I really like the idea of building a fort inside the house and maybe even fitting in a bed to sleep in. If you have ever tried to build a cubby house from kitchen chairs and sheets you will know much how much fun the kids have with activities like this and how much of a challenge it is too.
Wooden Blocks. Classic Build System that won’t disappoint.
Did you have one of those little trolley with the wooden handle and box full of wooden blocks as a kid? I think almost everyone did.
I remember my grandfather passing down the set of blocks he had inherited from his parents when he was a young sprout. There is a good reason that wooden blocks have been taking pride of place in American families play rooms for centuries. They work, they last the test of time & they are so simple?
I have heard some kids remark that blocks are so old-fashioned and ever since Lego was invented Wooden blocks became obsolete. I beg to differ because there is one magical trick that blocks can do that Lego can’t do. SMASH. That’s right once you have built a tower out of blocks and relished in the joy of smashing it back down again you will have just shared an emotion that Lego cannot provide.
I would even comment that a lot of the more modern video games have given block building a new lease on life. Think Angry bird towers and how much more fun it would be to smash one down in real life as opposed to the game.
Catapult National Geographic – So much more than just a building model
This little kit is pure genius for those boys who like to build and break. National Geographic is a company that has been around for over 100 years and really know how to capture the timeless joy associated with building toys coupled with a little bit of sneaky education too.
This kit will give your boy three different models to build. They can all be build without special tools or glues are necessary. I can imagine your boy deriving a lot of satisfaction from showing off such a model once built and learning a lot about propulsion, physics and materials along the way without even realizing it. There is another aspect to this kit that I don’t see elsewhere, that is the concept of introducing history and in particularly historical figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci. All three of these designs were originally from Da Vinci himself. What a brilliant way to learn a bit of genius from way back.
There are loads of positive comments on amazons and testimonials but there is a common theme that I picked up on. The bulk of parents (& grandparents) leaving comments touched on the topic of teaching their boy concepts such as patients, perseverance and longer concentration spans. Here is one I liked.
Motorized Paper Air plane – Fun in the outdoors
This little toy is something quite unique and definitely not something you see every day. What we are doing here is we are using a little tiny piece of technology coupled with your old school paper plan to make powered flight. Sounds complicated I hear you say. Have a look at the video linked below and you will see its simplicity. I really like the widespread appeal this one brings to the table. When I showed my boyfriend what I was ordering he made me change the delivery address so that it went directly to him. Poor kids have to pry their boys away from dad now.
For anyone who is into gadgets and technology this may well be the perfect segway between the virtual world of video games and real life building construction toys. Once he has mastered the simple build a door opens to many more complex paper plane designs. Paper planes are also one of those timeless toys that boys seldom shy away from. There is also the bonus of getting him outside down to the park and testing out the build.
Closing remarks: I hope you found some inspiration above to get your son out and about building something fantastic. Please share your experiences below and let us all know how you went.