The toys we play with as children really do shape the way we see the world

Think back to your own childhood educational toys and perhaps you can see how they influenced what you do now? There is no doubt that educational toys inspire children to create their own worlds and feed their imaginations, but can construction toys really turn children into architects or indeed famous architects?

“There is a theory that the Modern Movement in architecture was heavily influenced by the architects playing with Froebel blocks as children.” Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor at the Daily Telegraph

Frank Lloyd Wright, was raised on Froebel toys

Genius architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, was raised on Froebel toys; basic wooden cubes, cylinders and spheres created as an educational toy by Friedrich Froebel in the 1830s. So were Josef Albers, Charles Eames, Buckminster Fuller, Johannes Itten and Paul Klee.

People of all ages enjoy building models and the fun of constructing everything from huge skyscrapers, industrial metropolises and countryside mansions. Educational architecture toys teach us the basics of construction, imagination and exploration from a very early age. And they can be hugely influential.

“Like most children at that period my life was touched by Meccano and Trix, by model aeroplanes and motors, and I was grateful for exposure to them. I think they have been a powerful influence. I still sometimes buy things that I play with; and the box usually contains a note to say, ‘This is not a toy’, which actually means it is a very expensive and rather fragile toy.” Norman Foster, Chairman and Founder of Foster + Partners

That’s when we started thinking about how giving a child a basic educational toy with no instructions can really open up the imagination and creative process. This would partially explain the popularity of Lego Architecture Studio and other architecture toys that appeal to a wide audience of both children and adults.

For us, when it comes to finding the best educational architecture toy, the decision comes down to just one thing: how realistic is it? We developed Arckit as a professional model building tool for architects, but it is fast becoming a popular educational product based around modern building techniques. And it is very realistic.

Endlessly design and modify numerous advanced building types

As well as being able to endlessly design and modify numerous advanced building types, you can also download real building material patterns and textures to apply to your finished models – so you can create realistic stone, brick, timber and aluminium finishes, even grass and water! You can get right inside your model, explore interior spaces, and use Arckit with other popular models such as railway sets, scaled furniture, toy cars and figurines.

Modern building methods, which Arckit embodies, have now moved far beyond brick-on-brick construction, unlike other popular construction toys which are still largely based around these past techniques. But you don’t need to be a budding architect to enjoy building models. It’s just a great way to have fun with the family, with the added benefit of ‘secretly’ teaching the principles of architecture and construction.

However, it is still interesting to consider how new architectural modelling systems Arckit will change the landscape for architecture. How will these smart new educational construction design sets influence our future architects?

Well, Arckit has recently been featured as a prize in the prestigious worldwide Generation Kingspan student architecture competition. Take a look at last year’s winners and you will see a trend towards panelled methods of construction in many of these outstanding designs.

Arckit’s unique system allows everyone who has a design idea to immediately start building. You don’t need to spend months taking expensive courses in CAD. Just open the box and begin exploring.

We would be interested to hear your stories of how educational toys influence and inspire from an early age.

What toys inspired you as a child?

How did they influence what you do now?