KAPLA blocks: Europe's best kept secret!
Teachers have probably been praising the wonders of Kapla for some time but I only became acquainted with these perfect little planks when we moved to France. At first I was a little shocked by the price: £40 for some wood! But let me tell you, Kapla is not just a few bits of wood.
Here in France, it's LOVED by kids. There are KAPLA clubs at schools, KAPLA parties and there's even a KAPLA Centre in Paris where children can fine-tune their skills on Saturdays and school holidays.
Kapla was invented by a Dutchman in the 1980s. Apparently each piece is identical and has a unique ratio that enables children to buid things without the need for any fixings. What's seemingly magical about them is how stable they are. The wood comes from renewable pine forests in the South-west of France so they also feel nice in your hands (not cheap and nasty).
Let me warn you, Kapla ends up all over the house and in the strangest of places!
Before Christmas, while my back was turned, my kids decided to decorate the tree - turning the Kapla blocks into "candy canes". But Kapla is easier to tidy up than say, Lego, because the pieces are bigger so it only takes a few minutes to throw them all back into the carry box (that's included). There's also a satisfying clinking noise when the wood is piled back in (and the kids can make a game of it which makes tidy time easy for me!).
We gave our son the 200 piece box for his 4th birthday. He's been using it for over a year and he hasn't asked for more pieces yet. I suspect when he's old enough to join the KAPLA club at school he'll want more planks so he can build bigger structures. For now, he's content using them for anything and everything (propping up his Brio tracks to make bridges, making marble runs or a sweet shop to display his Halloween treats).
I think children could start using Kapla from as young as 3. They will have fun using their imaginations, even though the ability to build amazing structures will come later.
This is the set we bought.
Kapla is what I would call the "Grand-parent pleaser". It's a good gift to suggest if they are stuck for ideas. It's timeless, simple and engaging.
I give it our Five Little Stars.
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