Most Loved Toys, Vol. 3
Wooden blocks may very well be one of the oldest toys around. I imagine, from the time of creation, children have sat in their father's workshops stacking wood scraps.
Because of their age old simplicity, I tend to think of them as boring. And yet, everytime the blocks come out of the closet and onto the kitchen floor, my kidlets come running.
Except for the occasional monologue, providing step by step details of what they are doing, they sit quiet and intent, focused solely on their masterpieces.
The younger kidlets prefer to build up, while the older ones build out.
My favorite, though, is when their creations are finished, and they begin to use their imagaintions to act out a story. If I remember right (way back in January), I think they were using little wooden people as babysitters to watch the little babies, which were actually little cylinder blocks.
On one of those super long days this past winter, I gathered up the kids and set them down at the table to decorate some of thier blocks. In the middle of the table I placed several smooth square and rectangle blocks, a stack of magazines, and a dish of Mod Podge with several paint brushes. I knew it would be messy, but entertainment was needed.
It was interesting to see which pictures they cut out of the magazines. We ended up with a little boy dressed as a super hero, a toddler playing a small guitar, a mom's head, several baby faces, elephants, and a package of Pampers diapers.
Despite several magazines being glued shut forever, puddles of Mod Podge on the table, and pieces of cut up paper scattered under the table, the kids had fun and the afternoon sped by.
If you'd like to transform some of your own blocks, here's how we did it:
1. Flip through magazines to find usable pictures.
2. Trace a block over the picture you wish to use.
3. Cut out the picture just inside the lines you drew when tracing.
4. Paint a layer of Mod Podge onto one side of the block.
5. Carefully place the picture onto the Mod Podged side of the block.
6. Let dry for several minutes.
7. Paint 1-2 layers of Mod Podge over the picture on the block, making sure to coat the edges of the picture as well. (Let dry between layers.)
You could easily do this with family photos, providing your kids with a block replica of your family.
You can also create block puzzles by using one large photo and cutting it into smaller pieces to cover multiple blocks.
(Don't have a wooden block collection? Keep your eye out for them at garage sales or thrift stores. I've spotted many sets at various garage sales. Or visit your husband's workshop and find out which scraps he no longer needs.)