Living in Michigan does not guarantee Mother Nature will send us spring when the calendar tells her to do so. Related: My oldest son has asked me nightly if tomorrow will be the day he can go without socks and a coat and run around barefoot in the grass. I feel ya buddy, I do.
So it’s April and my thermometer currently tells me it’s below 40 degrees. This means playing outside is still at a minimum and requires a lot of warm layers.
Needless to say, we are still inside a lot even though we don’t want to be. So what do we do when we want to be outside exploring and running but are instead confined to the tiny space of our living room? We build stuff.
As a family of two parents, a three-and-a-half-year-old, and a 12-month old, we have somewhere around a gazillion toys just for building stuff. In fact, even toys that are not in any way or form meant for building get used for building stuff.
You need a road for your cars? Line up books. Or pile them up and watch your baby brother Godzilla them down.
Need a place to hide for a minute? Create a fort with every single blanket and pillow in a 2-mile radius of the living room.
What’s that? Intruders (aka your baby brother) might break in while you are taking your bath? Build a Booby Trap with ALL THE THINGS in the hallway. That’ll teach ‘em!
Of course we do spend time with actual building toys too. The youngest works on his fine and gross motor skills by stacking, putting things in other things, and smacking towers down.
Blocks are your classic “stack and smack” toy and we have quite a few varieties of them. We have the classic wooden blocks (seen below), we have plastic blocks, and we have Drip Drop Blocks (seen above).
We have SmartMax toys and we have, of course Legos. My boys are too little yet for regular Legos (although I think for the eldest’s 4th birthday, he may just ask for them), but we have a million of the Duplo kind. The way it goes around here is that my 3yo builds a magnificent creation and the little one destroys it. Then there are tears. It’s fun!
We also have a couple Mic-O-Mic helicopter sets. My oldest LOVES these because they are JUST for him. The baby is too small to be around such tiny parts. And even though the sets are to build helicopters, he gets creative and makes whatever his heart desires.
I am so hoping our days of sitting inside building things are numbered. I can tell that both of my boys are itching to run and play and build things out of dirt just to destroy them. Because that is what kids do, right?
Katie Sluiter is a freelance writer and teacher who should probably be grading papers or changing diapers but is more likely blogging, tweeting, or just overusing social media in general. She chronicles all this on her blog, Sluiter Nation.