It turns out that when students have free choice time to do whatever they want, they reach for classic wooden blocks more than anything else in the classroom, and teachers have commented that there never seems to be enough time for the children to build things. In a profound sense, the children are correct — over a century ago school curricula included building with wooden blocks all the way up to third grade.
And now they're back: a recent New York Times article describes how these blocks are in demand at elite schools in New York, for good reason. Kindergarten teachers have told me that the children need more time for fine motor skills and working cooperatively, both of which are superbly taught by the blocks. Frank Lloyd Wright fondly remembered his hours of building with blocks; even as an adult architect he intuitively thought and imagined in terms of those blocks. And so we build, everything from the Mayflower to a haunted house to a giant dragon to a life-sized Gulliver.