This article is written by Almas, a Primary trained teacher turned stay at home mum from Sydney of two very eager beavers. Today, let's share her excellent experience with Kapla.
When it comes to blocks, it can be relatively confusing to decide on which type of blocks would be best suitable for your children. There are a wide range of blocks out there, whether they are wooden or plastic; however, the question lies on which type are the most popular amongst children. Our Eager Little Beavers are a fan of a number of blocks, whether they are wooden or plastic, we play with them all. However, the ones which tend to be played with continually are the wonderful KAPLA planks which were kindly gifted to us by Toypark.
In today’s day and age of loud, bright, colourful games and plastic toys, wooden toys remain a prized possession. While we may tend to go for the plastic ones when shopping with our children, we often forget that the classic wooden toys are far better than their bright and loud counterparts. In our play space we like to keep both options available for our beavers, however it is evident that the wooden types are perfect for experimenting open ended play and learning through play.
What does open ended really mean though?
Open ended toys are ones which allow your child to use their imagination whilst playing and learning through limitless opportunities. The KAPLA planks allow your child to create their own settings through imaginative/dramatic play. They open up a whole avenue of exploration for the child and allow him or her to take control over how and what they play. You can either build towers with them, create a marble run or even teach your child to count and identify colours, the possibilities are endless.
The best thing about the KAPLA planks is that it promotes STEM learning. The word STEM may seem like a fancy word and one may ask how wooden blocks are a source of STEM learning. Four-year-old Peter watches his mum create a tower using the KAPLA planks, he pulls one out and the tower collapses. He then asks his mum “why did that happen”, a number of explanations behind the tower collapse. It does not require expert knowledge, nor do you need a recipe book or a science kit. Listen to your children’s questions and let your own curiosity and inquisitiveness do the rest when your child plays with these wooden pieces.
The best thing about the KAPLA planks is that it doesn’t have a million pieces to it and almost impossible to clean up like for instance LEGO, plushies and much more. They’re simple and easy to clean which allows for a clean play space look as well. The planks are surely aesthetically pleasing but they also don’t have a whole heap of maintenance related to it. For e.g., changing batteries or parts. Your child will focus on what they’re building and there’s no risk of overstimulation. As parents we always like to please our children as much as we can and result to buying them excessive number of toys which don’t all get as much love as they deserve. This is where the concept of stimulation comes into play, that more is not always better for your child but in fact negatively affecting your child in many different ways.
Plastic toys nowadays are usually made with a variety of cheap materials which can break easily, potentially leaving sharp edges and small parts that may harm children- especially ones who are more prone to put them in their mouth. The KAPLA planks on the other hand are strong and sturdy and are less risky in this way.
It is evident that these planks are aesthetically pleasing. Whether you have a dedicated play space at home for your children’s learning and play or you simply enjoy purchasing educational toys for them, you want them to look pleasing and inviting to play with. The planks either brightly coloured or in plain wood help your room to look nice, regardless of it being in their playroom, no matter where they are, they bring a positive energy and vibe to the environment. Even if unexpected guests arrive, if the pieces are lying around, they won’t look as bad as the loud and noisy flashy toys that are overly stimulating. These precious wooden pieces are timeless and allow children to learn and grow every time they pull them out to play. They’ll be there for your next child and the next and their children and the children after that because they never lose their appeal and will always be treasured in each and every home.
Some interesting facts to consider next time when purchasing toys for your child:
Surround your child with toys which are educational and cost effective, ones which will last you longer and also grant you the benefits and skills which you want your child to gain from an early age
Children love open-ended play, so the KAPLA planks are the best form of open-ended tool there is- to promote curiosity, imaginative play and practical life skills.
Toys that are realistic are more likely to teach children how to world works, children mimic what they observe and will be able to gain similar skill sets of the real world in no amount of time.