The benefits of block play for children are numerous and well known. Blocks provide learning opportunities in a variety of constructive multidisciplinary activities. Blocks are frequently a young child's first exposure to units and math. Early scientific concepts such as volume, weight and gravity are experienced through block play, and children learn to classify and label. Children can build their creations from scratch, as well as tear them down, giving them complete control over the creative process. In a group setting, block play projects present opportunities to experience collaboration and conflict resolution.
For adults, building something from a set of Steinbaukasten provides a mindful, focused retreat from daily life. The old-world architecture of the Anker blocks (churches, cathedrals, castles) are appealing and a restful antidote to the digital onslaught and information overload of our typical lifestyles. Here is a picture of me and my father-in-law, Milton Ellis, at 1:30 in the morning well after everyone else had gone to bed. We had to finish that building! (The Hunting Lodge from set 18A.)
This is the Castle on the Lake from set 26A:
An aerial view of my building area shows two tables to hold all of the blocks, and the first few layers of the Castle underway. Earth Quake simulation is provided by wooden flooring in the room.
Part of the beauty in the Steinbaukasten designs is the intricate nature of the sub-structures and building features. Stairways, towers and arches frequently offer interesting inner construction design, and external ornamental touches.
And of course - what fun is a big empty building no matter how cool it looks? We can never resist populating a finished building with figures, both handmade and found:Resources
George Hardy's Site
The Ankersteinbaukasten Company
Chris Baldwin's Toy House