image001Every time I set out the creatively illustrated story walls from a new Build and Imagine set, I learn something, watching kids in action! I’m always amazed at how fast little hands are constructing their story and building while modifying the plot as they change the configuration of their building while taking the story to a new place. The new “Creativity  Castle” pairs kids’ ever-changing creativity with a popular children’s theme, a castle, with stand-up figures, Dane and Willow ready to don costumes for knight, jester, archer, falconer and princess play. This new set includes an additional 3 magnetic characters which expanded the play and dialogue as they joined in the party around the banquet table, fed the horses hay (using a triangular roof piece!), made their clothes on a spinning wheel, and passed through the guarded hallway to a magical stream leading to a cave. The working drawbridge was a favorite as kids directed the play, “Put all the princesses in the castle!” The many rooms contribute to the rich language possibilities as kids took the story to the kitchen, bathroom, stable, spinning room, carnival, or dungeon tapping into groups of accessories–food, magic, clothes, weapons, animals, musical instruments, treasure and games–to enjoy a “root beer float” as one little girl said, and play some backgammon or entertain on her guitar. Parents were impressed, “I like the quality of these magnetic pieces,” and a teacher-mom wanted a set for her classroom. “It can be daunting for kids to write a story. Many kids need hands-on movement to get the story going and kids could even work with a partner.” This set inspires dynamic, action-packed story telling, inspiring kids to be creative, strong readers and writers!