Move over, Legos. Clicstoys is here and we had the privilege of playing with these up close. These are small, colorful, plastic shapes that click together to make all sorts of neat things. Their motto is "the fun toy to clic", and I think kids will agree. As we speak, my young daughter has them spread out across the living room, snapping and clicking away. Already she has made a submarine, various houses and a ship with a fish trap (all her versions).
Kids snap together the parts (clics) to make lines of sentences, but also actual toys (with movable parts), 3-D designs and lines of math formulas. They even have a Spanish version of the toy.
Clicstoys makes learning more enjoyable, almost like a game rather than rote memorization of facts. Clics is actually a Belgian invention, making its debut on the European market in 2001. It's primary audience is preschool and very-early elementary grades, but I can see how parents of special needs homeschoolers would love to use them with their students as well. While I feel that mainly younger children would use these toys, certainly kids who are all ages would find them fun. Some of the projects you can make are actually rather complicated, like a tank, a car, a cargo ship (see below), an elephant and toys with movable or rotating components. Have a look at the link below for a pdf of a finished cargo ship. On the company website there are numerous toys kids can make, with step by step instructions in color (in sequential order):
Clicstoys build thinking skills, assist in grasping reading and basic math concepts, but most importantly, provide a whole lot of educationally based FUN.
Check out their site, www.Clicstoysusa.net to see what they look like and to order. Highly recommended by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.