As I mentioned in the Fascinated by Froebel post I have been looking at building blocks for Caspar. Planks quickly went on my wish list. These are an Australian design and I believe there are some very similar products in the US.
On the surface they look like over priced (they're not cheap) off cuts. If you have the tools and skills it's entirely possible to make them yourself. What sets these aside from other blocks is each plank is identical in size and weight.
When Caspar opened the box he wasn't excited. He looked at the brochure and picked out a design he wanted to make. Being a Lego boy he was expecting step-by-step instructions. When he discovered he had to make the design himself he lost interest and didn't come back to the planks for a couple of days.
But then he got creative. He started to use his imagination. It confirmed to me that we need more materials like this, entirely open ended.
There are only 100 planks in this box which isn't enough. I am undecided on purchasing more planks or trying some other blocks.
I had preconceived ideas about blocks and even these planks, thinking they were for younger children. Looking at these images I think we have many years of play left. Looking at these images of older children actually makes me feel excited for what our future holds.