Nothing beats a set (or two) of basic, wood blocks. When Ella was little, I ordered a bag of basic blocks from a seller on eBay who now has his own website, Bag O' Blocks. I was initially inspired to make her a set of dominoes with them but, before I could tackle the project, she pulled the back out of a bin in my office and started playing with them. And she continued to do so many an afternoon as I worked in my office.
A few months ago I pulled out a hand-me-down set of counting blocks from my Great Aunt Roberta, who was an elementary school teacher. It's been awesome to see Ella build towers, make beds, create meals, and incorporate the blocks into other toys we have in the house.
It's so amazing to see that, despite the technology within her reach or the battery-powered toys in her cabinet, she is happy to play with blocks of wood! And I especially love to hear her say, "I'm building my ideas." I hope she never stops.