Toy companies all over the world have been striving to create the perfect early childhood construction experience. Building things is an important learning stage for young children, instilling a deep understanding of gravity, aesthetics, architecture, and the STEM connections between all three. With hundreds of options to choose from, parents often struggle to know which educational toy will help their child most. 'Simple' construction projects often involve glue or tape, while more complex toys include hooks, fasteners that can be difficult for little hands. However, a Netherlands architect may have created the most simple yet innovative building toy that has ever hit the market.
What are Kapla Blocks?
Kapla blocks are smooth, uniform planks designed with the perfect ratio for experimental construction. They were invented in 1987 by a man named Tom van der Bruggen whose dream home was a castle. While preparing to convert a lovely farm in France, he began experimenting with scale models made from wooden blocks to see what the structure would look like when he had finished. However, the blocks he had were surprisingly unsuited to building, especially when creating even surfaces that flowed well into one another like walls and floors, roofs and lintels. Undeterred, he crafted for himself a large set of perfect building blocks, which took the form of smooth little planks.
The Kapla Ratio
It's only natural to wonder what Kapla planks have over normal wooden building blocks, and the answer is math! Every plank is crafted to be perfectly uniform with a 1x3x5 ratio. This means that three Kapla planks stacked are equal to the height of one plank standing up on its side, while five laid across is equal to the longest side of a single plank. Anyone who's ever played the stacking game Jenga will recognize the power of the 3x1 and the Kapla planks refine this concept to create the most versatile building and stacking options imaginable.
Building STEM Skills with Kapla
Children learn based on the principles shown in their toys. Anyone who has watched a small child play can see the wheels turning in their minds as they find new creative ways to build structures and stories with their toys, constantly inventing things to build and ways a toy can be used. Kapla blocks encourage children to learn about the inherent power of the mathematic ratio and its application to architecture. What falls down and why? How many stacked blocks equals one block on its end? What can be made, and how can it be made more stable? Your child will learn not only about building, but how to build well with sound architectural methods that will give them a permanent boost in math and science during their later school years.
Your Own Little Gnomes
The name "Kapla" is a friendly abbreviation of the creator's original name for his delightful building tools, "Kabourter Plankjes". This unusual phrase means "gnome planks" in Dutch, bringing to mind the idea of tiny industrious builders putting together the scale model of his castle by stacking these little planks. With Kapla, children become adorable building gnomes and can stay occupied for hours trying new creative ways to combine the blocks and build something magical. Don't be surprised if you're drawn into that gnomish urge to build as well. Many adults find themselves spending more time playing with their children, captivated by the delight of complex construction with simple but incredibly reliable materials.
Whether you start with a small single-colour kit or go all-out with a multi-coloured packs or even the kit of a thousand, Kapla planks will keep your child building and learning STEM skills as they approach school age and beyond.
Kapla planks won the prestige 2006 Dr. Toy Ten Best Toy Award!
For our full range of Kapla wooden planks, please click here.
Read some of our Customers Reviews:
Kapla 200 Wooden Building Block Set - "Great to build with - stable and easy to use. Grandkids had a lot of fun building all sorts of things".
Kapla 280 Wooden Building Block Set - "My grandchildren had a great time creating all sorts of structures. Easy to use and very stable. What a great toy".
Until next time remember learning should be fun.