I first saw this toy construction set at a front-door exhibit in the San Francisco-based Exploratorium. You arrange the rectangular plastic pieces in endless formations, limited only by your geometrical imagination. The squares interlock loosely, cleverly. A baby can do it. Every time you come to the set, you see new possibilities. But unlike other complicated construction sets, this ingenious one has just four simple sizes of one shape. I think of Wedgits as a 3D version of the ancient Tangram game. In fact you can get a booklet with profiles of shapes which you can try to build, in Tangram mode. Wedgits will challenge an adult, yet are easily manipulated by the small hands of an infant.
This toy was first called the Diamant, and it was invented in 1981 by the German designer Peer Clahsen. You can purchase an exquisite museum-quality wooden version (and other amazing toy-art) from the Swiss design company Naef. Here is what reader John Edmark has to say about them: “Swiss-made Naef toys are some of the most intelligent, well-crafted, creativity-promoting toys ever made. They are also very expensive, but well worth it. I possess and cherish but three of them to date: Diamant, Cella, and Ellipso. Cubicus is next on my list. These are not just toys for kids, but for anyone with an inquisitive mind. Nor are they puzzles to be solved, rather opportunities to enter into a creative dialog with spatial geometry. The quality and craftsmanship is outstanding. I’ve never seen better.”
However, for plain fun, the cheap plastic version of the Diamant, or Wedgits, works just as well. I’d get the Deluxe Set version with 30 pieces. A great gift for kids. If you want art, go with the Naef.
Wedgits Deluxe Set
Available from Fat Brain Toys
Also for $40 from Amazon
Manufactured by Wedgits
Available from Nova
Manufactured by Naef Toys09/1/05