When I was a child, my wood block toys did not fit neatly in a box specially made for them as the some purchased sets do, but I did have a wooden apple crate that my grandmother painted dark green to keep them in.
Both my grandfathers and my dad were carpenters. Occasionally, when they had time, they would cut wondrous shapes out of scrap lumber from job sites, sand it smooth to prevent splinters, and make a gift of the imagination building wood block toys.
My sister, brother, and I built castles, palaces, houses, the White House, and even space ships out of the sometimes odd shaped wooden pieces. The wood blocks were never painted. Somehow, I don
't think they would have been as much fun had they been.
We spent many pleasant hours playing together building things in the backyard. Often, we would try to build a town complete with roads and bridges. We never had quite enough building blocks to complete our childish visions, but we had so much fun trying that the next day, we would try all over again!
The memories are so special to me that when I had children, I wanted some wooden building blocks for them. Unfortunately, my grandfathers had passed away, and my dad was not well. He was not able to make many blocks for the kids. So we bought them instead.
I thought they lacked something, since they didn't have the odd shapes that made such wonderful imaginative buildings and bridges, but my children had never had them and didn't miss them.
They enjoyed playing with blocks, though my daughter soon decided she preferred dolls, and my son came to love Legos more. However, I believe the action of building with the wooden blocks gave him some better understanding of how things fit together that helped him build some pretty amazing things when he graduated to Legos.
Make Your Own Wood Building Blocks
Know any carpenters or cabinetmakers that might have scrap pieces of wood?
If you do, ask them for the scraps and use them to make your own wood blocks for kids.
Be sure the wood is untreated and clean before using it. For best results, after you get the shapes you want, sand them smooth using several grits of sand paper, working from the coarsest to the finest.
Do your kids like to play with wooden building toys, too?