Nicholas has no shortage of toys; besides a collection of Thomas & Friends trains and rolling stock that would make VIA jealous he has blocks, cars, trucks, and stuffed animals – thanks to parents who can’t say no and friends and family who apparently have a lot of VISA debt. However, I’m always reminded of stories about kids who get the latest and greatest toy, only to sit down and play with the box that the toys came in.

I’ve been renovating our basement for the past several weeks, and left a couple of scraps of wood outside in our backyard. As the weather has turned warmer and we have begun playing outside more and more, the blocks have become a real go-to toy. In fact, I recently cut an entire 8′ 2×4 into 4″ long chunks. It’s amazing what can be done with these. Nick has turned them into a road, train tracks, bridges, stairs, towers, the list is endless. All this from a chunk of wood that cost less than $2.

This is something that anybody can do – just drop by your local home center and pick up a piece of wood. Make sure to lightly sand the edges to prevent splinters.

For even more fun, consider painting the blocks with your child.