In our house we have a (certain stackable block-toy aka L*go) city that is quite extensive. I can't help but marvel at the complex directions and intricate processes that my kids are able to negotiate to get these kits built! I said extensive...but I should have also said expensive!! and stagnant. Once they're built, no one changes it up with an addition, car port, or new identity for the many buildings.
Part of the joy of building is to create something new and different that prompts the imagination to develop! Creativity is a sign of intelligence - and it's hard to be creative when you're always following the directions or playing the same way.
On our summer vacation this past August, my family came across a cute, portable Plus-Plus Mini-Maker Tube. Having maxxed out my bag-of-tricks that we'd packed, I went ahead and bought each kid their own set. At dinner that night, we all had fun creating, building, sharing, and problem-solving how to make the adorably colorful puzzle-pieces into something novel each time. The mini-maker tubes each came with directions to make a Jellyfish and a Mermaid but we quickly reassembled them into something of our own imagination - a chair and table, a secret treasure chest complete with sliding lock!, a house, and the obligatory cute dog. You see, by only having one shape to manipulate, the girls were able to do so much more with their imagination instead of being locked into a preconceived idea of what went together, or not.
Plus Plus for Different Skills
My own family's experience got me thinking about some of my occupational therapy kids who struggle with motor planning & execution of ideas, following visual models/directions, and basic puzzle skills. A little more research into the company and I wasn't shocked to find that these Denmark-made toys allow for scaffolding of skills and levels of creativity that would appeal to kids of varied abilities.
Plus-Plus allows for varied levels of fine motor development with their "Midi" sets (medium-sized, about 2") and standard smaller "Mini" sizes (.75"). You can buy the sets in mixed colors, themed-box sets, "open play," or "instructed play." Color choices are primary colors, pastels, and neons and the sets range from the mini-maker tubes (approx 70 pieces) to 100, 300, 600, 1200, 3600, or 7000! piece sets.
Midi Plus-Plus products:
Mini Plus-Plus products:
In the Learn to Build sets, the guide book offers varied levels of building - from the basics of linking 2-4 blocks, to 2-D flat familiar visuals like letters, numbers, flowers, and people, to more complex building like 3-D objects and people. For kids who struggle to follow complex visual directions, using pieces of the same shape and color (or using only 2-colors) will allow for easier perceptual reasoning skills. That, coupled with the potential for beginning building/linking using larger blocks, will help promote success for all kids.
Add Plus-Plus to your next gift list and see what your child is able to build with his imagination and these simple toys. Download their new app for different ideas or add a base-plate to turn your creations into displays. Thank you to Plus-Plus for sending us more of your products to share with differently-abled kids! Check out some inspiration from their website and let us know what you create!
*While Plus-Plus sent us products to review, all opinions are our own. Affiliate links are provided for readers' convenience and may result in financial benefit to this blogger/site.