Every single day, we are making stuff in this house.  And I don’t just mean messes.  Every day, we are using our hands and our brains to put things together.  Here are our favorite projects this week.


It has been a non-stop puzzle-palooza around here.  Little brother is into our chunky Melissa & Doug farm puzzle, and big brother is alternating between putting together his Avengers puzzle for the 479,000th time and branching out into some new more challenging options.  Last week he went after this US map puzzle by Hoyle Crown and really enjoyed it.  I thought all the detail might be a little too challenging for him, but he started with the ocean on the bottom and Canada on the top and everything came together!  This puzzle has nicely detailed labeling, including the states and their capitals, the Canadian provinces, and major bodies of water.  Each state is also characterized by an image or two, which may be oversimplifying things a bit, but it’s a start.  My three-year-old enjoyed talking about the states he’s been to and where some of our family and friends live.


Wooden Trains

Like a puzzle… that goes together a billion different ways.  My older son goes in phases with this train set.  He’ll go two or three weeks playing with it every single day, then put it away for a month or so, then get it back out and be obsessed again for a while.  Right now, we’re in a manic phase.  He’ll set it up every day — usually requiring some coaching from me to make sure all the loops connect — then he’ll play for a while, then suddenly he’ll stop, look at me, and go “How ’bout we change it?”  At that point, we’ve got to deconstruct and reconfigure the whole thing.  What an excellent toy for problem-solving, exploring possibilities, experimenting, adjusting, and reimagining!


We have reached max capacity for our train set in our living room, but if you’re looking to amp up your own collection without breaking the bank, I recommend this Orbrium set from Amazon, which is just $52 for 110 pieces (click photo for link).


This vintage magnet building set has captured my three-year-old’s imagination in a big way.  Every day he’s making something new, working on fine motor skills, balance, and creativity.   With each new creation, his hand gets a little steadier, and any time a piece falls, he tells me “We don’t have to get frustrated.  We just keep trying.”  Too true, buddy!



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