Blocks are a very popular in our home. Blocks are fabulous because they are so simple, but let imagination and creativity run wild. The sad thing is, great blocks are hard to find. Go to your basic Toys R Us, Walmart or even most locally owned toy stores and you will find little mini versions of what you remember playing with as a child.
"Where do I find great toy blocks?" You ask? Constructive Playthings. They are a bit of an investment ($49 - $100+), but they will be a toy in your home with longevity. Benjamin, at 9, shows no sign of retiring from his love of blocks.
One thing that we learned from Ripley's Montessori school is to pair the blocks with two marbles and a little glass or ceramic jar (custard cup). The kids build ramps and roads for the marbles to roll along or down, then into the cup. Believe me, good for at least an hour of fun. Incidentally, Montessori schools believe in using breakable things. This is how children learn to be careful with their things. If they are constantly surrounded by plastic, why worry? Why be careful? Just like potty training, there are bound to be messes, but that's called learning.
(ps: That basket the blocks are in? That is from my CD organization project. Presto! A "new" basket.)