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CONSTRUCTION ZONE: CHILDREN BUILD SKILLS, SUCCESSES

 MILWAUKEE, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- To you, it's an empty paper towel roll. In the hands of an inventive child, it's a tree trunk for a landscape or a column for a building or any other of a number of imaginative uses.
 To you, it's a recyclable two-liter plastic bottle. To her, it's the start of a space ship or maybe even a scuba tank.
 Ordinary materials found around the home take on new life when children are encouraged to explore, create, design and build.
 "When children are building things, whether they're using construction toys or natural or recycled materials, they're developing new skills and building their imagination and confidence," said Peter Reynolds, president of BRIO Corporation, a toy company based in Milwaukee. "They're making decisions, solving problems and learning how things fit together and work the way they do. And most important, they're having fun while they challenge themselves."
 Outdoors, the sandbox is a natural construction zone for castles, moat and roadways. But don't overlook the other building materials at hand. Sticks and leaves can be formed into garages and houses. Add a little water to that unused corner of the garden to form a system of canals and rivers snaking through villages of mud huts.
 Materials around the house also provide opportunities for construction projects. BRIO offers a few suggestions, but remember that your children, given the chance, will see possibilities you never imagined yourself. Whenever a child plays with real-life nails, parental supervision is required.
 -- Wood scraps, especially trim, can be glued or nailed
 -- A deck of cards and paper cups or paper towel rolls are basic building materials.
 -- A large carton or empty appliance box can be transformed into a playhouse or hideaway.
 -- Shoe boxes, milk jugs, egg cartons, popsicle sticks, straws, thread spools, metal lids from frozen juice containers, and many other items all provide construction opportunities.
 Construction toys, such as basic wooden unit blocks and BRIO MEC, also encourage children to be inventive in developing their own structures. With BRIO MEC construction sets, children learn basic carpentry skills because the hammer, screwdriver, pliers, wrench, nails, rivets and nuts and bolts work just like real tools and fasteners.
 As they build, children use basic math concepts such as shapes, size, patterns, number, weight, length, and spatial relationships. Slightly older children can also learn basic mechanical principals, such as the use of levers and pulleys, and how simple machines work.
 A number of books written for children explain how machines work and might suggest further construction projects using materials found around the home. Some suggested titles are: Machines and How They Work, by Harvey Weiss; The Big Book About How Things Work, by Joe Kaufman; and The Science Book of Machines, by Neil Ardley.
 "Building challenges and rewards children on many different levels and across a broad age range, from the toddler learning to stack blocks to the 10-year-old child building an elaborate intergalactic space ship," Reynolds noted. "Provide your children with the tools, materials, play space and encouragement, and you'll see them grow along with their creations."
 BRIO MEC construction sets and other BRIO toys have won national and international awards for fun, quality, safety and durability. For a list of specialty toy stores that carry BRIO toys, call toll-free 800-558-6863, ext. 5.
 -0- 7/05/93
 /CONTACT: Leslie Remme of BRIO Corporation, 414-353-8697/


CO: BRIO Corporation ST: Wisconsin IN: SU:

DB -- MNFP1 -- 8537 07/06/93 10:06 EDT
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Date:Jul 6, 1993
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