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The History And Evolution Of Construction Toys

Construction toys have long been a part of the fusion of play and learning in children. At Click-A-Brick™, we are quite proud to say that our creation has a rich family history, and is part of a lineage of toys that have been shaping children's education for generations, and which we hope will continue to do so for many generations to come.

The premise of a construction toy is simple: using basic components, your child can assemble and creates something much bigger and better. They can then smash it and build something else. Children and adults alike have forever been thankful for these toys - which stretch the imagination and creativity, while also keeping your child well-occupied for many hours.

The Emergence Of Block Toys

The first construction toys, as we know them in the modern world, were popularized in the late 19th century, when Friedrich Froebel introduced a revolutionary new way for children to learn. He encouraged them to play and explore. His “gifts”, as they were known, were distributed through America and Europe. They were simple geometric shapes that children could mess around with.

Construction Toys
Construction Toys
Inspired by Froebel, a man named Dr Richter then invented the Anchor Blocks, stone and resin shapes that could be stacked to create a masterpiece. At a similar time, Jesse and Charles Crandall created and patented an interlocking brick system, which used grooves and tongues to slot the pieces together to create a circus scene.

The evolution of construction toys continued in the decades to come, with many new designs reaching the market, and the Anchor Blocks seeing a steady but ensuing rise to popularity.

The Names You Know And Love...

By 1907, the brand names that we all know and love were beginning to emerge. Frank Hornby's construction kits, were once known as 'Mechanics Made Easy', but the name changed to the well-loved Meccano, which featured flat metal strips, nuts, bolts, and even the proper technical language in the instructions.

A few years later, in the 1920s, wooden construction toys became much more popular, with the rise of Lincoln Logs, which could be used to create log cabins and forts. Other wooden sets flooded the market, and it was even possible to get scale accurate advanced sets, for budding architects of all ages.

Enter... Fun Learning

The serious nature of these toys, thankfully, began to change after WWII. Before then, the emphasis had largely been towards preparing children for the working world as quickly as possible. The constructions sets reflected this, and often lacked color, were very technical, and required a lot of practice and skill. They were less suitable for young children, and were not designed to be fun.

Post WWII, the emphasis of education swayed back towards play, creativity, and imagination, and the toys followed the trend. This inspired the world famous brand Lego, which was first released in 1955, which was colorful, fun, educational, and suitable for children of all ages.

 

Over time, more and more creative way to connect bricks, learn, and have fun, were developed, including our very own Click-A-Brick™. It is with great honor that we take our place in history, and it is with great pride that we continue this long line of educational construction toys.

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