I love to look through toy catalogues and create wish lists but I know I have neither the storage space nor the funds for all the items I find interesting. Honestly, being budget conscious, many items get added to my 'make this' list instead of my 'buy this' list. The Roadway System was one of those items I planned to make instead of buy - I even went to the lumber store to price out the supplies. However, once I factored in the time it would take to cut, sand and paint all the pieces, I decided it would have to go on the 'buy - someday when you have more money' list. So, when I was offered the opportunity to receive a product in exchange for writing a blog post about it I knew I had to include the Roadway System on the list of items I'd like to try.
My current group of five boys range in age from 22 months to 4 ½ years old. They tend to get very excited and sometimes reckless so toy durability and safety are equally as important as play value. When I first unpacked the Roadway System I was very impressed by the quality and the size of the pieces - I would never have been able to make ones as nice as these. Often when I buy construction type toys I buy multiple sets in order to ensure there are enough pieces for all the children to use so I was a little concerned that '42' roadway pieces may not be enough but to date the boys have never run out of pieces for any project.
The pieces are easy to put together and take apart. Even the youngest boy in the group needed no assistance;
There was a little frustration at first because several of the pieces (as seen in the photo above) have one connection point with tabs and two connection points with spaces resulting in many more spaces than tabs. The boys have since decided that when they leave these spaces lined up with a straight edge or another piece with spaces it creates 'potholes' in the road - bringing real life experience into play.
I really like that the pieces are thin enough that the children can walk across the roads without tripping and yet strong enough that they will not bend or break. Standing on toys is usually discouraged but for these it is OK;
They boys did also complain that they couldn't make a circle road - they kept choosing some pieces that curved one direction and at least one that curved the 'wrong' way and wouldn't work unless it was upside down. I wouldn't show them how to do it but I did encourage them to take a closer look at the eight curves and sort them into groups. Eventually they figured it out and made TWO circles.
I found it quite amusing that the boys use the crosswalk sections of roadway as 'jail'. Any cars caught speeding are escorted there by the police car and must stay on the 'bars' until they are permitted to drive again. We've been working on getting all the cars to drive on the right side of the road so there are fewer collisions between vehicles driving in opposite directions. This may however just be my point of view - I think sometimes the collisions are actually their intended outcome.
We've been spending the majority of our playtime outdoors but since I first introduced this roadway system it has been their favourite indoor toy. For weeks now, with the exception of a few trips to the housekeeping area to make food for the hungry drivers, they have played exclusively with the roadway when they are in the playroom. They have become expert roadway designers;
I love the little 'parking lots' they add. Note all those 'extra' pieces still in the bin and no one is complaining that they ran out of pieces. With most of the other construction toys the boys become quite competitive - trying to build structures that are bigger/better than what the other boys are building. With the roadway there are some racing competitions but the construction is always cooperative. Making this MY favourite building set too.
Cheryl is an experienced ECE II who runs her own daycare (Cheryl's Child Care). She enjoys spending her days providing an individual and flexible program which includes planned activities, spontaneous adventures, and independent free play.