naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
So there are a bunch of different magnetic construction toys available now, but... not all of them are durable, and not all of them have good strong magnets.

I've had good luck with Magna-tiles. Most kids seem to start by making two-dimensional shapes, then rapidly start building upwards into three dimensions, with increasing complexity. They're great for making abstract art shapes, house structures for small figurine toys or dolls, and guest-houses for any fairies who may happen to visit.

Especially for kids who may have difficulty with fine-motor control enough to enjoy Lego, Magna-tiles seem to be a good thing.

http://www.magnatiles.com/
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
Good, imagination-friendly wooden toys are difficult to find these days. I've had good luck with plenty of the Melissa and Doug toys.

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/our-toys/developmental-toys/blocks-and-building-sets/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/cognitive/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/fine-motor/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/large-motor/

http://www.melissaanddoug.com/shop-by/skill/imagination/

When I was first buying them as gifts for others, years back, a bunch of their toys were Made in USA, which means a lot to me. Nowadays I don't think they make much here, but read the labels.
naturedance: my foot, in my boot, on Mount Rainier (Default)
I've given these as gifts over the years to various kids, and they're great. Durable, unfussy, basic colors, and dishwasher-safe for when they get dirty or the kid's been sick. They're good outdoors, indoors, and in the bath.

And OK, yeah, I kept the rocket astronauts set for myself.

http://www.greentoys.com

(I have been able to find them sometimes at a discount at TJMaxx.)

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