Sometimes it seems that open-ended, or slow, toys are synonymous with "blocks." Indeed, four of my Top Five Slow Toys might be perceived as primarily construction toys and thus obvious choices for preschool engineering. More than "just" blocks, each toy on this list is well-designed and lends itself to different types of construction and pretend play. They are simple and versatile and beautiful. I hope you agree!
5. Pipes/Funnels. When Mikey started occupational therapy he just loved building with pipes. That they snap together made them similar to Duplos but the mere fact that they were pipes made them awesome. So, when we had an occasion to give a gift I gave him the Quercetti Tubation set pictured here. They are durable and, at our house, they have been successfully integrated with funnels and marbles and water and sand.
Squigz. My husband told me that our son just loves the kitchen brushes that have suction cups on the bottom. Squigz came to mind immediately. I had seen a picture and description on fatbraintoys.com and felt intrigued. And with Mikey's birthday around the corner I finally had an excuse to buy them. Good for fine motor work, construction, and all the other things blocks are good for, these little suckers add a new element to play.
3. Bilibo. This is the only "tool" on my top five list because it can be more than a tool for scooping, dumping, pouring, or molding. It is a hat, a drum, a cave, a creature....I'm sure I cannot even imagine all the possibilities and I will only see the true potential when my kids play with them. (Admittedly I have not played with these Bilibo toys yet and neither have my kids but I Moluk's videos inspire me and I can't wait to try one out!)
2. Plan Toys Blocks and Pusher. This pusher in my home has been a lawn mower, a vacuum, a shopping cart and a stroller. The blocks have been used for building and countless other lessons in imagination, counting, building, etc. (See more on the article I wrote for Fat Brain Toys called "Why Design Matters.") This toy has been used (and abused) for more than three years and keeps on delivering!! I recommend this toy with no reservations.
1. Magnet Tiles. Earlier this week I wrote a post about the wonders of this toy that seem to happen whenever my family hosts a play date with our BFFs. These toys offer similar lessons in construction (patience, design, etc.) that blocks offer but there is an added cool factor of the magnets holding them together. The intrigue of the snapping sound when the magnets are drawn toward each other endlessly amuses all of the people who play with them. These are my current favorite open-ended toy.
[Disclosure Statement: This post contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I receive a small referral fee at no cost to you. To see how I spend the money see my "Philanthropy" page. ]