Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Crazy for Keva Planks

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Two weeks ago, a good friend and I moseyed over to Dodge City for an afternoon of shopping at Hobby Lobby.  With the blissful scents of fall in the air and cooler temperatures in the forecast, my mood was set to spruce up the house in reflection of my most favorite season of the year. Below the usual list of school and craft supplies, I neatly scripted details of my decorative wishes, wondering which items would be negotiated first if not on sale. 

Just a few paces into the store, I quickly realized that my shopping expectations were clearly not going to be met.  All fall, harvest and Halloween decor was already on clearance and dedicated staffers in blue vests were buzzing around making room for all things Christmas. And so it is true for most stores...red and green and lights and trees are popping up into our line of vision, reminding us that it's never too early to shop for Christmas.  So much for savoring each season, one at a time....

Since we all know that the holidays, snow-days and even birthdays are never far away, I thought I would share with you one of my all-time favorite gifts for kids:  Keva Planks.

With five boys in the house, you can only imagine how our playroom resembles nearly every isle of Target, but only a few treasures have stood the test of time.  By test, I mean physically endured the rigors of rambunctious play and managed to keep captivated their interest and imagination as well.
Whatever gift-giving opportunity might be on the horizon, I highly recommend Keva Planks, for boys or girls.  I was introduced to them five years ago, and since then, not a week has gone by that the boys haven't pulled out their bag of building possibilities to create a masterpiece.
Our family became so enthralled with them, we decided to host a Keva Club for our home school network in Kansas City.  It was wonderful!  The planks can be used to teach architecture and design but also mathematics, physics, even history, art and science.  
Children of all ages can manipulate them, and feel proud of their work.  If your kids need a little inspiration, You Tube has a number of very exciting demonstrations as well as exhibitions of incredible works of art composed by individuals of all ages.  

We purchased a book filled with lesson plans for instruction.  Many of the plans have been implemented in the classroom....but honestly, the inventions crafted by the boys are so much better than anything I could ever teach.  Their creative muscles get stronger the more frequently they are exercised! Here are some examples:

After a study on Roman History, Ben and Andrew crafted the Coliseum, and St. Peter's Basilica
A cantilever, which looks incredibly difficult, was accomplished with a little help from dad the first time...now they can do it on their own.  Benedict is in second grade in this pic, I snapped it just before he pulled out the end supports...and yes, it stayed up!
They can be incorporated with other toys to create what my boys like to call "set-ups."
From army men to Lincoln Logs to Play mobile, the possibilities are endless!  If you have Nerf guns in your home, the planks can be set up in a variety of configurations and used for target practice.
If sports are your child's only interest....Keva Planks can satisfy even the athlete's imagination. This is Benedict's interpretation of a football stadium.
To re-cap, here are a few reasons why Keva Planks really stack up:
*  They are timeless - most likely your kids' kids will play with them.
*  The design possibilities are infinite, and children's imaginations are not restricted.
*  They are indestructible!
*  They can be used to teach a variety of subjects, and come with design plans and online tutorials.
*  They don't require batteries, software updates or Elmer's Glue!

If you have relatives who generously give gifts for birthdays or holidays, Keva Planks are a great consideration. They are a wonderful investment that will last through generations of play.  Keva Planks can be purchased through several online retailers, such as Amazon and E-Bay.  

I recommend beginning with a set of 200.  If your kids show enthusiasm toward the idea of building large-scale projects, keep adding to your collection.  We have collected about 800 over the past few years, and the boys always seem to "need" more.

If you would like to inquire about lessons that can be incorporated into school work or daily play with the Keva Planks, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment or through e-mail: suehusband@yahoo.com

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.  ~ George S. Patton 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your website (I had to smile a lot):
    My son is almost seven and just discovered keva planks a few weeks ago....
    I agree: he cannot stop designing and building and I recognized many of your pictures!
    Very important: have a camera ready before everything falls down again ;)

    Keva planks are truly fun!