Those of you who have been longtime Quarterly readers should know this fact about me: I love to create art with kids. It’s all fine and good to get together with adults and paint or build (let’s be honest, when do we really make time to do that though?) but it is when I get on the floor with kids and truly play that I feel at my most open and creative. I feel free!
When I visited Portland, OR several weeks back I got really into the set of Kapla blocks that were in a basket at SCB’s house. When I was leaving she told me those had not been touched in months but since I had been in the house everyone was playing with them once again. I just loved hearing that!
The possibilities with these blocks are endless. They are lightweight and very simply made. When they come crashing down (in fact, Miles, Mia and I took to filming ourselves making big towers and then crashing them down; it was awesome) you don’t feel sad or frustrated because the crash is so light and gentle. You know within moments you can have the same structure built again.
I love how there are no presets with these blocks. In the Lego set we have at our house for the kids there are pieces with specific characteristics so you feel almost hemmed in by the inherent desire to use them for those purposes. For example, pieces with eyes stickered onto them … how can they not be eyes? It takes a big imagination to bust out of those presets. With these blocks there’s really nothing implied. For me it brought an openness I had not found in other toys and I thrived under that freedom. I think Miles and Mia did as well.
I recently purchased this set but went back and forth about getting so many colors. SCB’s set was just all one color and that felt just perfect! But then I thought about the kids and adults that would be fighting, ahem, I mean playing with these in my house and felt moved to get the color. I am already anticipating one little boy playing with them and along comes another little (or big!) boy who wants to play too. Now I can say, “why don’t you take the red ones and you take the blue ones?” Harmony, freedom and fun! A good combo for all of us to have in our lives.