• Sarah

Dew pah lows

So, here's the thing. I have four kids. With four kids comes a lot of toys. We can have a room demolished in under half an hour. Should someone try to brave walking through it, they must wade through toys up to their knees.

Okay, that's possibly an exaggeration. All the same, we have lots of toys and seem to always be accumulating more. You think I would be sick of seeing any toys. That's mostly true, but there are a few that I happily allow to continue to come into our home. Of these, Lego's Duplos (or as my kids insist on calling them dew pah lows), are my very favorite. And no, this is not a sponsored post.

As a child, I never owned a single Lego. (Cue string music, here.) I liked them and played with them at my cousin's houses. In fact, I have always liked them, even into adulthood. When I started having children, my husband and I realized we would be able to play with some of our favorite toys of childhood again, once our children were old enough.

Imagine my happiness as we started accumulating Duplos. My toddler was barely able to assemble two pieces together. If I built something for him, he would love to play with the creation and pretend. Our early sets were Spider-man and animals. Before he was able to speak, he was pretending by babbling and growling. With each child, this collection has grown. It is the single toy or set of toys that is used daily in my house by all four of my children who now range from one to six years in age.

My children have all became very adept at building and using their imaginations to build their own vehicles, houses, superheros, guitars (see below), or even Transformers. Clearly, these are toys that engage my children's imaginations, enhance motor skills, and keep their interest.

Once we began homeschooling, I found even further uses. My preschool children learn to sort colors with Duplos. Animals, people, plants, objects can also be sorted from the bricks. Patterns can be laid out to be copied by the student. We have even built letters out of Duplos.

I have also used Duplos for early math lessons. Math cubes are often used for counting,

comparing most/least, and addition/subtraction. I even used Duplo trains in red, blue, and yellow this week to teach first, second, third placement in a Saxon math lesson. We use Duplos to build towers and to measure the height and width.

We have built a zoo and used this to discuss animals and their varying habitats. We used a blue base plate for the animals that would live in an aquatic or arctic setting. A yellow base plate was employed to discuss a savanna or desert setting. We used green base plates for jungle, prairie, or swamp settings. Continuing with the animal theme, we built a farm and discussed wild animals and how they vary from domestic animals.

I also found they could be used to teach stories to the kids. I make sets for them to play out their stories, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Once I even made a Garden of Eden to act out the lesson of man's fall. I plan to do the Three Little Pigs soon since my toddler still loves to knock down what we build. I see a future of playing the "Big Bad Wolf" for him.

We build castles and dollhouses. My daughter prefers the Duplo dollhouse to a doll house we have. Once a house is built, we have fire rescue. We learn about the various careers through imaginative play.

We also engage in the whimsical and fun. We have built a parade with each child making their own floats. Another time, we designed and built a carnival. It had various rides and games that spanned our entire living room. We designed a playground, a schoolhouse, and hope to try to build a town square one day.

Basically, this is a post where I am just professing my love of Duplos. If we were to become minimalists, this would be the last toy I would purge. (If you know me in real life, you're likely laughing at this idea.) In the future, I hope to document some more of the activities we do with Duplos and share them here. Hopefully, these often overlooked, baby brother of Legos can be of use to others that are educating at home.

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