Encourage little design seekers to test out their architectural instincts with some of our building sets, including the colorful Blockitecture set from Areaware. These nesting blocks are hand-painted, and are designed to recall the look of urban structures. The blocks can be combined in numerous ways, but the shape and cutout of each block requires engineering and balance in order to create a successful building structure. This makes the Blockitecture set a bit of a brain teaser, requiring careful thought and stable fingers. Made from New Zealand pine, this block set is inspired by Brutalist architecture, the movement that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. Show your budding architect some of our favorite Brutalist buildings to inspire their structures.
We love giving decks of cards as stocking stuffers, and they work for kids of all ages. HAY’s CVZ Playing Cards are a minimalist rendering of a classic deck of cards. Designed by graphic designer Clara von Zweigbergk, these cards rework classic suits and face cards, invigorating the way you play cards. Kids will enjoy figuring out the new symbols and design of the cards. Although they can probably teach you a thing or two about card games, we think that including instructions for an old classic will add a thoughtful touch to this simple gift. While kids might be familiar with Uno, they probably haven’t been introduced to Crazy Eights, a classic card game that young kids and older kids (even adults) will love to play. Up to five players can play at a time, so it’s perfect to introduce at a holiday. You can even shuffle in another deck to include more players—consider the super sleek Minim Playing Cards for an artistic shuffle.
- Deal five cards to each player. For only two players, deal seven cards to each.
- Place the remaining cards facedown in the center of the table.
- Turn the top card face-up next to the stack.
- The player to the dealer's left will then play a card that matches either the number or suit of the face-up card. For example, if the face-up card is a four of hearts, then the player can play any 4 or any heart.
- If a player cannot play on the face-up card, then he draws facedown cards from the deck until he or she finds a playable card.
- Whenever the deck runs out, the top card is removed from the face-up pile and the cards are reshuffled.
Those Crazy Eights
- All eights are wild and players can use them when they don't have another card to play, or at other strategic times.
- The person who plays the eight calls out what suit they want it to represent and the next player must play a card of that suit.
- The first player to run out of cards wins the game!
Mix it Up
- You can spice up this classic game with additional rules—especially for older kids who get a hang of the game quickly.
- For example, you can make fours reverse the order of play. Jacks can skip to the next player. You can even make it silly by calling that playing a six means you have to put your finger on your nose until the next six is played.
- Let the winner of the previous game introduce a new rule for the next round, making the game fresh every time it is played.
Marianne writes for the Dwell Store. Her favorite designs are those that marry unexpected elements—a subtle silhouette is met with brilliant pattern; an everyday, functional item is crafted in luxe materials, and so on. In addition to writing about modern design objects, Marianne holds an MFA in Fiction and writes short essays. Originally from Massachusetts, Marianne lives and writes in Colorado. In her free time, Marianne enjoys skiing and hanging out with her husband and bearded dog, Briggs.