3901_1I was drawn to this tub of open-ended, child-driven play at the Toy Fair as I walked into Faber-Castell’s lively booth. Kids had used the contents of the can–clay, wheels, stickers, styrofoam shapes, wiggly eyes, feathers, bells, pom poms, paper grass, mesh tubing and more–to create hot air balloons, robots, pop singers and butterflies. Powered by kids’ imaginations anything is possible and you can almost hear the mental wheels turning. I placed my can in the middle of three kids, 6-9 years of age and they started right in, developing their project as they tried new materials as their figure or object took shape. A parachute became a “bouncy toy” while the “salsa dancer” added streamers and hailed from New Orleans! Kids were verbally sharing their ideas and add-ons as their imaginations lead the way. What a fun way to build problem solving and language skills as proud children add their designs to the gallery.

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