I got a box of mini PlusPlus building pieces as a gift from a client. Her son is apparently addicted. He was totally occupied with them for their entire vacation plane ride earlier this year. The entire ride.
These toys from Denmark come in midi (medium size) and mini sizes. They are intended for ages 3+ due to their small size. If your child likes to put objects in his mouth, pass on this toy until that phase is over. Same if your child doesn’t clean up well or throws toys frequently. Think carefully if you have a baby in the house. An infant would find these colorful pieces and put them in her mouth very easily.
Why am I so thrilled with this toy? After all, LEGO has been around for decades. Answer: You can build things with PlusPlus that aren’t possible with LEGO. The flat shape can be easier to assemble, and the uniform shape actually speeds building. A younger child isn’t left with odd small pieces that an adult has to deal with.
This is the photo from the box. These are the mini size and they drape around the child’s face softly, unlike the LEGO bricks. Clearly, this is a child that is old enough to grade her force so that the glasses don’t break or enter her eye accidentally. Safety first with all toys. But this means that if she has a younger sibling, she can be a terrific role model for this kind of play. They can play together, making different things with different levels of skill.
My local stations run a cable ad that imagines what would bring siblings together without fighting. Their answer is two separate TVs in two separate rooms. Success is separation and sedation. Sad. How about creativity and abundance bringing kids together? The big box supply is large enough for at least two kids to feel they both have enough. If you have a child that isn’t satisfied unless she has everything, you have bigger issues than what toy to buy.
The small size and the ability to create both flat (2-dimensional) and standing structures (3-dimensional) increases the fun. Kids may not realize all the dexterity and visual-perceptual skills they are developing. It is just fun!
- find a sturdy container for all these little pieces. Make sure it closes very firmly but easily. If a child can’t secure it or doesn’t realize it isn’t secure, the mess he makes when it dumps out is going to look overwhelming. Refusing to pick up the pieces puts you in place for an argument. You may find yourself picking them up for days if they scatter.
- Make sure that there are enough favorite colors, and that the size is right for the child. Tiny pieces that are hard to grasp and control aren’t fun.
- Let the tablet’s charge run down. When a child has to wait to go back to tapping and dragging, you can bring these out.
- Build something simple but fun that a young child can add to. Think of it like the foundation of a house. Younger children have a hard time starting from scratch but as they work they may even destroy the original structure and build something more fabulous!